Wednesday, May 6, 2020
You may have seen this interesting story on MSN.com or Facebook about a Singaporean man, Wong Tetchoong, 59, who embarked on his sailing adventure from Singapore on his ‘Ximula 3’ yacht on February 2, 2020. He had plans to travel across the Pacific Ocean, with two of his friends from Indonesia. He had no idea what awaited him during his journey by sea. The two friends who were accompanying him had to cut their trip short and return to their homeland before their borders closed as Covid-19 began to spread.
Mr. Wong sailed from port to port throughout the South Pacific looking for a place to land for safety and supplies. He was rejected from returning to Indonesia as well as Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands because of fears of virus spread. Wong was forced to be at sea for over 60 days, enduring heavy seas/winds with a damaged auto-pilot before the Fijian Navy and Government agreed to assist him out at sea after being stranded for almost two months.
We too have been ‘stranded’ for about 6 weeks (and under alert/virus worry for probably 60 days). And, as of today Gov. Murphy, has ordered another 30 days of staying in our home port. So very many things that have always anchored us, are still unavailable and even the best and most treasured relationships in our lives, are being put to the test.
The longer this goes on, the more difficult it will be to keep ourselves from going adrift; physically, mentally, emotionally, and for sure, spiritually. I have been thinking about what Mr. Wong was doing when he has without a port and without his family. While sitting on a yacht in the South Pacific sounds delightful for a few weeks, I imagine, there was waaaaay too much down/alone time. What did he do? Did he journal? Did he sing childhood or family or native songs? Did he pray? Besides pondering life, missing his family and friends, and returning to a pescatarian diet (which we may all be doing short-term), how did he find his bearings without his auto-pilot? How did he anchor his soul?
Perhaps we are all finding out what anchors our souls what things and experiences send us feeling adrift. Perhaps if we take the time to listen to the still waters, the birds of air, the winds and the tides, we will hear God’s voice in some or all of these ways. Some of you may already know that most early American churches were built with an interior architecture/infrastructure to resemble the inside of a boat. (You’ve got time, look it up!)
I pray we only have 30 more days of being at sea. I pray you don’t feel adrift, but if you do, I hope you are or will become anchored by our weekly worship. I hope you’re praying more often, separately and together. The best way to get anchored is to seek the One who can still the storms, be our protector in midst of 40 days and 40 nights and who can walk on water to meet us, when we are adrift and seeking a safe and open harbor.