We Can Always Learn More from Being on the Boat

We Can Always Learn More from Being on the Boat June 24, 2024

In the course of writing since 2004, I’ve told some stories more than once, always discovering there was more to learn from those moments than what I’d said before.   Today at mass, a favorite gospel story came up, and it reminded me of my own dad’s experience of the storm at sea.  Yesterday was his birthday and he would have been eighty-two.

The big thing I keep coming back to from that story of when my dad and his fishing buddies found themselves stuck on a boat in the middle of a storm is this:

Being a follower of Christ is not a shield against experiencing difficulties, it is however, a promise that in all things, even suffering, God is with us.  He accompanies us in all things.

Sitting in the mass, it occurred to me to ask about those storms in my own heart that needed quieting.  I asked myself, had I asked?  Had I told Jesus I felt like these things were too much and needed to be resolved.   Scripture tells us he knows our hearts, but I also know, he asks us to be unafraid to ask.   So I asked.  Please Lord, make the waters smooth.  Calm the storm.  I know you’re here with me in the midst of all this even if it appears you are sleeping.

Having adult children transition back into the house, into the mix always involves a bit of adjustment.  Kids who go off to college, even if they visit, tend to staple their siblings at the age they were when they left, and it takes a while to recognize, that isn’t so.  My thirteen year old is chaffing at being treated as though she is nine.   It’s hard to get everyone on the same page and by the time we do, somebody will leave again.   The recent graduate is wrestling with being no longer a high schooler, and what that means and does not mean.   Summer me wants everyone to stop wrestling and let daily interaction do its family magic.

Play with each other. Talk to each other.   Family is where you’re supposed to fit even if you don’t feel it.   That got me to thinking about the reality of not fitting in, and how it is always lurking.  Almost every story in the news is a clamor of some sort, of wanting to belong, of bemoaning having been rejected, or of creating some place where the puzzle that is you will find your place.  Reality does not work that way, not in high school, not in collge, not in the workplace, not at home.  Finding your place does not mean there are never conflicts or rejections or frustrations or sufferings or injustice.

Finding your place means working with the people around you, knowing them and them knowing you.


Community is not merely commonality, but communion –connection that is beyond similarities –is deeper than preferences and past.  Community looks to the future, and works in the present to make ever deeper connections.  The domestic church is the primary and first place and supposed to teach us how we ought to respond to each other.   Help the weak, encourage the tired, support the sick, love even the irritated and irritating.  Forgive because you love.  Say I’m sorry when you hurt.   Be with each other and accompany in all things.  Go the extra mile.  All the things that Jesus tells us to do to show we love Him, these are practiced on a daily basis in the family.   It’s inescapable as the family grows and ages.

Jesus is in that family, in that Church though sometimes it may seem He is sleeping.   We must pray, we must ask, and we must trust, that He who the winds and seas obey, can calm every storm.   He who can raise the dead, can heal all the wounds we allow Him to touch.   Christ just waits for our resposne to His invitation, to trust him in all things.  He promises, within His heart, we fit.      We belong.  Within his heart, we will find full communion even if we’ve been away or grown or feel others haven’t noticed.

All of which brings me back to another phrase I love which applies to love, family, scripture and community.  We can always go deeper and deeper in, and Jesus is inviting us to put out into the deep.

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