Recently more than 50 ships from about a dozen countries paraded majestically into Boston Harbor. Most were part of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, an international sailing event, visiting ports on both sides of the Atlantic. As I watched some of the ships go into the harbor close to where I live, I realized that one of the ships I was viewing through my binoculars was probably the Esmeralda from Chile. According to event information, it was built in 1953. More research revealed that another participating ship was built in the late 1800s. Incredible.
But there’s more to these ships and such occasions than just the outer beauty and grace that we see. Beneath the surface and history of these objects and events are the qualities represented: precision, intelligence, harmony, strength. The ships’ voyages also point to teamwork, perseverance, faith, and peaceful collaboration.
I see these as qualities that derive from God. They make me think of the spiritual universe, which includes each one of us as God’s creation or image.
Reflecting on these ideas as I watched some of the ships, I thought of how many Bible references to sailing, seas, waves, and wind there are. For instance, Christ Jesus is recorded as having stilled storms and as having walked on the water. And this verse in Psalms, referring to God, promises: “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them” (89:9, New King James Version).
I’ve found that opening my thought to inspiration from God helps me navigate more readily the stormy waters that can come up in life, and has brought “calm waters” – solutions and healing – many times. For instance, at one point I needed to make an important decision as to what course to take in a personal matter. I had been praying about it for a while, and on the morning of the day I was going to take a conclusive next step, I awoke with a very strong sense not to go in the direction I’d been planning to. Later that morning, I received an out-of-the-blue call that ultimately led to a course that was clearly right for me. Day after day, turning to God in prayer – yearning to understand more of His universe – I find guidance and healing.
It takes persistence sometimes, but striving to better understand the limitless goodness of God and His creation helps us see that the discords we face are ultimately mistaken beliefs of life as limited and mortal, which is a misperception of our spiritual reality as God’s children. Speaking of Christian Science, the system of healing she discovered, Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Divine Science demands mighty wrestlings with mortal beliefs, as we sail into the eternal haven over the unfathomable sea of possibilities” (“Retrospection and Introspection,” pp. 56-57). Gaining this more spiritual sense of ourselves and the universe cuts through the fog of cynical, discouraged, frustrated, or fearful thinking. It enables us to experience more of genuine, spiritual life and sail on more skillfully.
Thank you, tall ships, for all that you represent and for what you prompted me to ponder.