Lessons Learned

We have lived aboard for more than a decade.  Even so this sailing adventure will stretch us in ways we cannot fully anticipate, so each of us will be contributing to this page as we get underway. Following our Calling as disciples of Jesus necessarily involves sacrifice and obedience and grace and love.  Now we don’t claim to know more or better than you, but we do know that all these will be tested.  And the only way we can fail is not to remember, not to reflect, not to Listen, not to change – that is all that is written hereafter. . .

We’re just trying to grow and thought you might be interested.

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12/17/16 from John:

Afraid of the Dark?

It was a moonless, cloudless night 3 cold miles East of Point Arguello.  Orion had risen out of the SE and with it had come a whole host of wonders.  Besides the myriad stars which city lights usually keep us from seeing, shooting stars regularly skipped past our heads.  One of these so lit up the sky behind us that we craned our necks around fully expecting to see a ship’s searchlight.  And who would’ve thought the stars bright enough to illuminate the windswept sea; but they were.

That was just the night above us.  Below, bits of bioluminescence glittered in the water churned up by our bow.  Not to be outdone, a dolphin lazed along beside us slow pokes for a time – visible only be the phosphorescent streak left in the wake of its fin.  The sights we’ve seen already are unforgettable.  The sea after dark is amazing, but with each night passage I realize I am more and more enamored with the light.

It drives me nuts, really: we prepare and we plan for these long all-nighters – how can we achieve maximum safety, efficiency, and comfort (without staying in Redwood City).  Then as dusk and dark settle in, so does anxiety.  Nagging doubts whisper: Maybe we should wait for less breeze? Or more moonlight? Or warmer weather? Or the end of winter?  It’s predictable.  It’s palpable.  It’s powerful.  It’s persuasive – and I’m a night person!!

Despite the wonders of the night sky, the dark can bring debilitating cold and fatigue and fear; however, it never fails:  “there may be pain in the night, but joy comes with the morning.”  This quote was true thousands of years ago and it’s true today.  You’ve felt it before, haven’t you – on some long road trip or fishing run or graveyard shift?  Regardless of caffeine (or even a rolling boat) dawn’s first light recalled you to life.  You gained warmth and clarity of vision.  Doubts and anxieties faded like unwanted dreams.

Of course morning light won’t solve all problems, but what the dark has taught me is that we were made for light.  And I believe it’s more than a metaphor.  Something in us needs light – both its warmth and illumination.  It is no mere fancy or desire.  This innate quality is more fundamental and essential than that.  It’s like food: we certainly crave a yummy dessert, but when faced with a genuine shortage, people will eat almost anything in an attempt to meet this actual need.

Maybe the pangs of darkness aren’t as acute as hunger.  Maybe we’re resilient enough to weather it longer, but I am increasingly convinced that we were made for light.  We are blind and cold and hopeless without it.  Is this why we’re chasing the son (oops!), I don’t know; but I do know that we Gilberts have found hope and inspiration even in the dark… it is God.  Not just happy thoughts.  Not self-reliance. Not spirituality.  Our God offers hope to anyone through trust in His Son, Jesus.  And call it a coincidence but this Jesus guy has another name, too… “the Light of the World.”  Hmmm.