Friday, May 15, 2015


“Peace be with you; my peace I give to you: I give it not as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled; let it be without fear.” John 14:27

Mt.Vernon Tulip Festival, Washington State, US (can you see the one in the tree?)

The ships owners were off board. The chief officers were in command – not a big deal, they had done it several times before and were very adept and professional. They each knew their position, their job, and could cross-fill most functions on the ship. They were aware of every port of call and docking / loading incident in the next six weeks. As a team they were ready, almost nonchalant and caviler in attitude as their ship departed the dock.

Then illness hit. One crewman after another went down – all but one of the chief officers was plagued and blighted by the malady.  She was trying to keep the ship afloat, meet the port of call demands, and take care of the ill on her own.

As they were able, they helped the one remaining officer; but none were one hundred percent, none were fully capable, and several times they collapsed and had to be taken back to their bunks to recover.  But, they did try; they did what they could. All hands were fighting to do the owners proud and complete the commission.

A month into the voyage half of the officers were semi-able bodied and working partial shifts. The crew was back on its feet and mostly keeping food down. The unmolested chief officer was able to sleep more and eat at regular intervals.  The worst of the storm was over. There was a collective sigh – they had done it – they had made it through the tempest.  Every port had been called upon, every crate uploaded, every shipment delivered; there was two weeks left of the journey and they could see the dawn on the horizon.

After the voyage the crew would recollect this particular passage and remark it was one of their most memorable. How the group of them – officers and sailors alike – bonded, molded into a family of sorts, all doing what they could making the ship sail on.  A deep affinity for one another was birthed out of the experience, a kinship, a connectedness, a forever-link formed.

Have you ever walked, lived, navigated a situation like the one above? I know I have – several times. In the middle of it I am not thinking of the outcomes, the end results, the aftereffects – I am in survival mode: Do what I need to do to make it through to tomorrow. I brainstorm, make lists and execute, execute, execute.  Eventually time passes, the crisis clears and seas calm – and I am surrounded by the circumstances I created. Am I bonded to those around me at a deeper level due to what we just walked through or have I created great rifts, divides, and breeches? Are the relationships closest to me solid and a floating in peace or are they sinking, floundering and in dire need of attention due to holes punched in the hulls?

Stress, pressure, anxiety, pain, tension, worry and trauma do weird things to people; we react in strange ways and it isn’t always pretty – and the aftermath can be even more unattractive. As I wrote in my last post, stress is a choice. We choose to partner with it and its minions or we choose a different course. We also choose the outcomes, the circumstances, the aftereffects we live through once the event has passed.

How do you react to stress, pain, tension, worry or trauma? Do you bond with or repel others? Do you create an atmosphere of inclusion and collaboration or exclusion and individualism? Do you exude peace and calm or the opposite?  What can you do, today, to make stress, pain, tension, worry or trauma have less of a hold on your life? What can remove their anchor hold on your spirit?
© 2019 by Dena Andrews. All rights reserved.
Visual design by A. Ko