Chaplain’s Corner

Installment Number Five

Mariner’s Passage - The purpose of this column is to share my reflections on the life of we mariner’s and the Creator of the seas. We mariners have the opportunity to experience the Almighty up close and personal in ways no other’s can.

By George Shannon
Bolger, Microtrawler & Teal builder.

(Read George's article: Adding on to the Sacred Space)

My background and heritage like many is one of builders and craftsmen. My great grandfather was a builder in Montana in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I have his homemade toolbox and wood working tools as well as a post drill. My grandfather owned a knitting mill in the mid 1900’s and I remember playing around the ratcheting machines and steam presses for the wool, the smells and sounds being etched in my brain. My father was a tool and die maker and had his own shop from the time I was eight years old and those sights and sounds are also etched within. At a young age (12) I dragged home an old shed on a wagon and converted it into a "shop", my first sacred space. I took a four cylinder Model A Ford engine completely apart and cataloged all the parts around the new shop and did that until I could almost do it with my eyes closed.

Through the years the sacred space has changed in it’s purpose and meaning. Each of us outfits and "decorates" a shop differently, but one thing is for sure, it is a reflection of who we are at any given time in our lives. It is very personal and revealing. Sometimes I have personal history stuff around, sometimes the space is extremely unorganized, maybe organized, practical or impractical, simple or complex all depends on mood and circumstance in life. It is a place of meditation, hiding, creating, learning and oftentimes fun. Through the nine months I spent building MT, I learned to rely on the hand of God for help and companionship. Those of us who are married also know our spouses reaction to the place. Why don’t you just move a bed out there? Is it really necessary to work tonight? When will that boat be finished? You just finished a boat, why are you starting another one? Is it really the boats we like to build or do we just enjoy being in that sacred space? I am sure it is both, but not so obvious to others.

Lately, I have been reflecting on those whose shoulders I stand on from my family tree and can see some traits that I don’t like. I picked up that strong work ethic, perseverance and tooling up proper for the job. I have learned that in part my work is driven by compulsion and often thought it was just motivation or being a self-starter. The evidence I see is having to finish a job rather than doing it right the first time, buying far more material or tooling than reasonable and justifying it in a hundred ways, not stopping when my conscience clearly says it’s time and to continue will just lead to more mistakes and the list can go on. Some say that if you "have to" do something that it goes beyond normal motivation and begins to look like compulsion. I am not sure I know the difference just yet, but it is beginning to make some sense. The quest really was in finding out what was at the root of the compulsion and so far I have learned at least for me that it was fear and distrust of God. Essentially "running" from Him at quite a pace. Having discovered this in prayer there has been a lifting of the compulsive behavior and I really like the freedom that goes with that. I look forward to see how this will play out in all the rest of my life and relationships.

All of this has come very recently as I put an addition onto my shop that took place over this past winter.

(editors note:  You can read more about George's new shop in his article: Adding on to the Sacred Space )


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