Monday, March 20, 2006

Duc in Altum

I am currently adding the final touches to a talk I am going to give at a retreat this Spring. The talk's theme is "Truth and Service." Here is a short exerpt...

The past few years I have been learning to sail on my dad’s Tartan 27. We sail on the Great South Bay which can be really shallow and dirty. Our boat is 40-years-old and currently in the process of being restored. When my dad bought the boat, both the depth detector and GPS were broken. This means we were unable to know the exact depth of the water or what our exact position was. Sailing became a guessing game. We tried to stay in the main channels, but often ran into shoal waters. We would peer over the rail and try to calculate for ourselves how deep the water was. One time, the boat grounded itself in a sandbar. The water was murky from the boat scrapping the bottom of the bay. We had to jump out of the boat in order to push this 27 foot boat back in to deeper water. Before I jumped off the deck, I looked down in to the waters. I couldn’t see the bottom. I was unable to judge if it was forty feet deep or four. I jumped into the murky water and was surprised to find the water only came up to my thigh. We pushed, and shoved, and pleaded, and wiggled the boat back and forth. Finally, the boat broke through and we scampered back aboard…. Just in time for the boat to wedge itself into another sandbar.

Sometimes, when you look over the rail of the boat and can not see the bottom, it can feel disconcerting. The waters of the Great South Bay can give the deception of being deeper than they truly are. When you sail through the sea of life, it can feel like we are sailing along with out the help of any guidance, without a GPS or depth detector. How deep is the water beneath your boat? What lies beneath your boat? What do you hold as truth? I want you to examine your life. Is the truth that supports your ship shallow? Where are you headed? Are you stuck in a sandbar? Perhaps you are fearful of beginning such a voyage with what you believe is a lack of equipment. I think this fear of the unknown is summed up well by Pope John Paul the Great.

“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”

Don't be afraid. Push your boat into the sea, sail away. Go out into the deep waters towards your final end. Duc in altum.