Wednesday, 19 October 2011
When I’ve worked as second mate on tall ships, I have stood the midnight to 4am watch each night that we are under way.
As I come on watch, I greet the Captain, who is finishing his watch, and finishing the previous day. I finished my ‘yesterday’ several hours earlier when I went to bed after dinner. Four hours later, as the first mate comes on watch, they are starting the next day. I will not start my ‘tomorrow’ until I’ve had a few hours more sleep. My watch belongs to neither day, but to the night itself. There is no ‘today’, only ‘now’. Living four hours each night that belong to neither day, when the world sleeps, is a strange and delightful thing.
In many ways, this year has been a midnight watch. I am still in Australia and preparing for the field, a member of my ‘yesterday’. Yet, at the same time, I’ve left Adelaide and barely been at sea. They are part of the ‘yesterday’ left behind. ‘Tomorrow’ includes working overseas in Bible translation work... but I am not there yet.
This year is a time between times. A time of learning, growing and changing. It is a time of letting go of parts of ‘yesterday’ and thinking about ‘tomorrow’, yet still enjoying the year for what it is. As the year rapidly draws to a close and plans for heading into the translation field come together, I find I am excited about ‘tomorrow’, although I surely miss parts of ‘yesterday’. The lengthening days remind me that summer is coming, and with that, a whole new phase in life.
Written some time ago;
Second Mate’s Prayer
Lord, we live our life between times.
You have come. You are coming again.
In this moment, you are Immanuel.
In this time, which is neither today, nor tomorrow;
Let me rest in you, trust in you.
Help me to lay down the burdens of yesterday,
And not pick up those of tomorrow.
Wrap me in forgiveness for yesterday,
And trust for tomorrow.
On this dark journey between times Lord,
Show me your Spirit in the breeze;
The breeze which brings life,
Which draws us forwards.
Show me your cross in the sky;
Light in the darkness,
Course to follow.
Carry me on your majesty;
Vast depths of mystery,
Life blood of all the world.
In peace Lord, may we watch.
Keep us alert Lord, as we wait.
May our rest be always in you. Amen.