Monday, January 17, 2011

catching my breath between the waves

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
Louisa May Alcott
How apt that this quote of the day from should be waiting for me in my mailbox this morning. I had a stormy day yesterday, and this morning I am feeling bruised and battered from being tossed about in that storm.

Yesterday's storms came up out of nowhere. The first blew hard against my sails, and though I tried to stay on course, altering direction was the only appropriate response.  The second was like a rogue wave, roaring across the deck and knocking me flat with passive aggressive rage. There is nothing to do when hit like that except to steer into port and confront the rogue. Peaceably, of course. But as many in the world of words spoke throughout last week, words hurt. Agendas, particularly hidden ones, do damage. Pettiness detracts from the work to be done, and distracts those whose participation is needed. Sigh. Such is life in the Church. It is wearying and wearing. At the end of the day I wonder sometimes if the Kingdom is better off for having gathered, or more littered with the detritus of human brokenness.

Some years ago I read a piece in a magazine that belongs in the same chapter of wisdom as the quote above from Ms. Alcott. A ship carrying passengers ran into very rough seas, and the ship was tossed about like a toy on raging waves. The passengers gathered to pray, while the captain remained at the helm. Members of the crew joined in with the passengers, and at length a woman detached herself from the group and confronted the captain. "Captain!" she demanded. "Why aren't you praying with us for the safety of your ship and its passengers?" With exasperation he looked her way and replied, "Madame, when the seas are calm I say my prayers, but when they rage I steer my ship."

I am feeling like this captain, alone at the helm trying to steer a ship full of passengers who don't grasp the choices and wisdom of my actions. I guess it's time to start praying in preparation for when the debris of these recent storms will have to be navigated.

(The above painting is by John H. H. Bevort: A sailing ship in a stormy sea)


Terri said...

Oh good have my prayers....the quotes are wonderful anchors of wisdom, but still navigating is filled with much unpredictability....

Carolina Linthead said...

Beautifully expressed thoughts and feelings. May the One who calmed the Galilee bring peace and guidance to you as you navigate this turbulent sea.

The Bug said...

We had our Annual Meeting yesterday - & as a non-voting member I had a chance to observe all the "stuff" going on around me. Lots of fellowship, lots of differing opinions, some well-known feuds, and a few sneak attacks. Fascinating, since I wasn't part of it. Felt bad for the Senior Warden - he probably felt like you at the end of the day!

Mary Beth said...

I, too, will hold you in prayer.

Yolanda said...

Wonderful post. I have times like this and can so identify with your thoughts here.

Jan said...

Good thoughts to ponder. Prayers as you plow ahead.

Jayne said...

Honestly, I feel your pain. At a Sunday School meeting this week, our Parish Nurse asked if heads would explode if she put up a larger bulletin board outside the Parish Wellness Center. "Well, actually, there are those who don't want that one there in the hall to begin with, so yes, heads would explode," offered up the Senior Warden. Sigh.... I feel your pain, I do.

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