A case of the doldrums

The text for this week’s sermon was Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus calmed the storm. Pastor, during his sermon spoke of not only those storms that scare us and cause damage, but also those times when life is too benign. He referred to an area of dead calm in the sea, “the doldrums.” It was here he said, where we…went nowhere.

Yesterday K and B came over for band practice. He is a retired  merchant marine, and he talked some more about “the doldrums.” “When you are stuck in them,” he said, “you’re amazed at how filthy the ocean is. You see floating tennis shoes, aluminum cans, plastic wrappers, clothing….” His point was that it takes only a minimal amount of wind to stir the ocean surface enough to camouflage whatever pieces of garbage may be floating by.

Kind of a metaphor for life, eh? If I continually keep my boat trimmed to the wind….I can bypass all the garbage floating around. Only when I stop moving forward do I see, and am I surrounded by, all the debris.

I remember reading a story years ago about a woman who lived near the sea. It was her habit to walk the beach daily, and every day she would find something useful that had washed up onto the shore. Once it was a fishing net, which she then used to catch fish that she shared with her neighbors. Once it was a beautiful piece of wood that she fashioned into a table. She always shared her finds with her friends and family, or with those in need. Finally, one day there was a crate of oranges bobbing at the edge of the beach. She took it home and ate one or two. She had an engagement out of town, and left the house without sharing the oranges. When she returned a few days later, the oranges had rotted. And never again did she find useful items washing up for her use.

Though a stretch, I can compare the “doldrums” to taking those gifts we receive….freely….and letting them rot. Only by allowing the wind, the Spirit, to stir us, can we sail through life’s…..garbage.

Yes, I want my life to be calm…..but not TOO calm, ya know?