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Chaplain’s Corner

Installment Number One

Mariner’s Passage - The purpose of this column is to share my reflections on the life of we mariners and the Creator of the seas. (Proverbs Chpt. 23 verse 34) We mariners have opportunity to experience the Almighty up close and personal in ways that others cannot.

By George Shannon
Bolger, Microtrawler & Teal builder.

My two boat building experiences with Microtrawler and Teal was supposed to be a transition into retirement, at least that’s what was on my mind. The first project was MT and I had never built or owned a boat or worked with epoxy materials prior to this endeavor. As my wife and children can attest, I have not been the most patient person when it comes to doing most any kind of work. Starting with the blue print study part of the boat project, I felt an unusual calmness about even studying the plans instead of just diving in and cutting wood. That same calmness (now I call it peace) persisted throughout all the phases of the project. There was some fear about working in epoxy especially because I was warned about how quickly and permanently it set up. Even that went better than expected. As MT continued to go together I was constantly confronted with having to figure out boating terms, interpreting dimensions and views on the plans, bending 1\2 inch plywood, jigging up components, and woodworking techniques I have never tried before. What I found was that all along the way, the ideas I needed were often right there when I needed them. I also used folks on the internet extensively, but when alone in the shop and stumped about the next step, the Lord was very close to me encouraging me with ideas. I had experienced these kinds of things before, but not this intensely or consistently. As a Christian I had also done some reading about gifts (Eph 4: 7 & 8 and many others) and talents we each have and the fact that these were all given to us free. Speaking for myself I know that in and of myself I am capable of nothing, but learning to cooperate with the giver of all that I have, these boat building projects were even more fun than I have ever had constructing things.

After completing these two boats and spending hours out on the water and reacquainting myself (it has been 36 years since my discharge from the Submarine Service) with all that the water has to offer one’s soul, there still seemed to be a bigger message for me. As any mariner knows full well, we are all at the mercy of the weather and more correctly the creator of the weather. Things like trust began running through my mind, do I trust in myself and my ability to control the boat and my life or am I cooperating with the real "source" of trust? That thought took me one step further, is it control, trust, cooperation or is it surrender in all parts of my life that is necessary. Well, it is the latter for sure, but it will take a lifetime to work it all out. So, my boat building projects was a lot more than a passage from working to retirement, it is really about my passage from this life to the next.

I have begun a study of how often the words, seas, rivers. Ships, boats, sail, sailor and craftsmen appear in Scripture. I am amazed how often they are mentioned and it is my desire to share what I find in future columns. I am no scholar and have no specific training, but have been reading Scripture most of my life and wish to bring the Truth of what I have learned to other mariners. I encourage comment and criticism if called for by any reader.


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