My addiction to the sea was instant and permanent. A two week ocean voyage… just the thought was delicious! To sit by the cool damp rails early morning, back leaning against the book exhibition, watching the sunrise – reading, meditating, journaling…
The ship community, used to dealing with thousands of visitors every day, could now slow down a bit. We still had to work of course (it was a small village that had to continue to function), but a convivial and relaxed feeling took over the ship.
The bookcases on the upper deck were pulled in and secured. The main lounge area, where we normally hosted conferences, was cleared. Islands of people, some with few, some with many, some quiet, some loud, popped up around the lounge. Sleeping bags were scattered here and there. We played games, read, watched movies (from a very limited video library), talked for hours, and – drum role – planned a talent show!
What better way to nurture that sense of community? We brainstormed and crafted our acts. What could I do? NOT sing, as it might drive people to jump overboard! But dance – my heart’s passion since childhood – that I could do. So, despite my shyness, I performed a lyrical dance to a beautiful song…
And guess who ran the lights? Yes, none other than Peter! (I love to tease him about this part of the story). He shone the spotlight on me, and was smitten…
Okay, yes, I may be exaggerating. But for the first time, he definitely noticed me. Surely he was thinking only of my spiritual potential as he watched that dance… (Actually he was in the middle of leading a super intensive training team, so helping with the show was a nice little break for him).
And so we sailed the ocean blue. The voyage was quite peaceful. In fact, at one point it was uber-peaceful, as we spent a couple of days in the doldrums! Did you know that the doldrums really are the doldrums? Not a breeze, not a sound, the ocean seemingly asleep… it is truly eerie.
There was one special moment that has impacted my life forever. Days had passed without land in sight. I was standing on the upper deck, just thinking. The salty breeze was blowing my frizzy hair. I sense God’s all powerful presence impress this truth on me: our ship could be swallowed then and there by the deep waters, in an instant. The ocean would quickly smooth itself once again, and there would be no evidence for anyone that we had crossed that spot.
My breathing deepened and slowed, and I felt as if my DNA was being imprinted with the understanding that we are in absolute dependence on the mercy of God.
Absolutely surrender to that absolute dependence. The secret shared with me in a vast saline cathedral.