Yesterday I had to go to the office to use the business phone to check in to our PayPal account. When I told Erick, he jumped at the chance to ride in with me. It reminds me of when we were cruising on our boat.
There is immense freedom cruising in your own boat. You can go where you want, stay as long as you want and weather permitting, leave when you want. The only hitch is that our maximum speed is 7 knots ( 8 mph). This was true for most cruisers due to physics laws that my son the naval architect could better explain. So when we would get to port, given the opportunity to ride in a car, we would take it. It didn’t really matter where we were going. It would mean going fast! We could roll down the windows and watch the scenery flash by.
The first time we went to Paso Canoas, the border crossing between Costa Rica and Panama on the Pan American “highway” we met some bicyclist who had ridden all the way from Canada. “Wait,” our son said, “We could have ridden here on a bicycle? That would have been faster.”
The pace of life all across the world has slowed down. As inconvenient, and frankly frightening this time is, there are some bright spots. Old friends have time to check in with each other. Time to do some things we’ve been meaning to do. Time spent with family. And we can really appreciate things that we haven’t before, like going 60 mph on an open road.
Pictures of shoes accompanied my last two posts. So today I remember the monument we saw in Budapest called “Shoes on the Danube.”
60 pairs of iron shoes represent the 20,000 Jews who in were shot on the edge of the Danube after being forced to remove their shoes. Their bodies fell into the river and were swept away. Even though their bodies were lost to the icy waters, the monument proclaims that the lives of those who died count.
There is a human tendency to find reasons why our group should fair better than some other group. Some want to wall others out, seeing them as a threat to our way of life. Fear keeps us from allowing cruise ships to dock and puts up roadblocks at state lines. It allows pundits to ask, "should older people risk death in order to insure the survival of our economy?" It is human nature to want to protect ourselves. It is only human to fear.
Yet it is also human to care for others. To see ourselves in our neighbor. We witness the heroic efforts of those on the front lines; the doctors, nurses, rescue workers, police, and yes those who clean our buildings, who pick up our trash, sell our groceries, drive our buses, and all the others who rise above their fears and continue to do what has to be done. Christ taught us to love one another, because each one of us is loved and precious to God. We are each known by God, each remembered by God, and to God, each one of us counts.
Today is Census Day, the day that we in the United States count who is here. Despite some efforts to change the way we use the count, at its heart is the affirmation that everyone counts. It doesn’t matter whether you were born here or came here recently, whether resident, citizen, immigrant, with or without documents, you count.
Information gathered by the census supports how federal funds are distributed to support school lunches, highway construction, firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day. You count. Be counted for them. https://2020census.gov.
While I am making an effort to get out of pajamas and dress for the day, I have to admit that I tend to remain in my house slippers or warm happy socks. When we were cruising we took two sets of shoes, sandals for everyday wear and boots in case we decided to hike in the jungle. Most of the time on the boat we were barefoot. Our dress for the day was usually a tee shirt and swim shorts. Other boats wore less. We had a 14 year old son on board.
We didn’t realize how relaxed about our clothes and shoes had become until we hit the city of Panama. It was there we noticed our tee shirts had become faded in the sun and our sandals that shouted, “tourist.” (Although I will let you in on a secret. The way to tell a tourist off a cruise ship from a cruiser off a private boat-socks. For some reason cruise ship tourists wear black socks with their sandal. Cruisers don’t own socks.)
When we returned to port and rejoined the work force, we had to buy appropriate clothes and shoes. It was a shock, especially to my feet. They refused to be crammed back into high heels. In fact they rebelled against some low heeled dress shoes. In fact I found that I refused to be crammed back into the life I had led. I found I no longer had patience with worrying about appearances. I was happier being authentically me. Appearances don’t matter to God who sees our heart. During this time of not worrying about dressing for success, may you find your true you.
While we were living at sea, we would hear of violence in the U.S. Our parents worried about us being unsafe abroad. We wondered about being safe when we came home. And then 9/11 happened while we were docked in D.C. across from the Pentagon. And nowhere seemed safe.
For us, safety comes from being prepared as best we can. It means reducing the risks where possible. It means knowing the dangers and weighing them against the good friends we met, the amazing experiences we had, and the good done.
So now we are experiencing a new fear with new dangers and new challenges. As we listen to the advice of the experts, as we follow the directions of our governor, our bishop, our mayors, may the actions we take or refrain from taking balance the risks to ourselves and others. But may we also remember, “Our hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name”
So Erick advised last time, “be honest with others.”
We often hear about people stuck all winter in the artic coming down with “cabin fever.” We can become anxious about our own health or sanity while in isolation. These days, if we cough, we wonder, “Is this the virus?” I don’t know about you but every time I hear a description of an illness, I begin to think I have it.
We had been sailing for about two or three days, getting little sleep. We were sailing down the coast of Baja California, surfing down twelve foot waves. Erick, our 14 year old son Tim and I were each taking 4 hour “watches.” At night that meant one of us sailing in the cockpit of the boat, the other two sound asleep below. My watch in the middle of the night eventually became my favorite time. I was alone with the boat, the waves and the stars in the sky. But when we first started out, we were all sleep deprived and four hours was a long time to have the helm and hold your family’s fate in your hands.
The second night out, I began to hear a flute or pipes playing in the distance. I could almost make out the tune. They sounded like the pipes we had heard in Arizona played by Navaho or Hopi musicians. No one was around. Was I beginning to crack? Sometimes during the day, I would hear the music, but the other two didn’t act like they heard anything out of the ordinary. I thought I must be losing it, but I didn’t say a word, because I didn’t want the others to worry.
Finally, I had to mention it to the others in the boat. They needed to know whether they could rely on me or not. I told them, “I think I hear music.”
Erick and Tim began to laugh nervously. They admitted that they too heard the flautist. What could it be? We began to explore the sound. It was coming from the tubing that held up the solar panels. When the wind blew across it just right, it played music. Our boat was singing.
We promised to be honest with one another, especially when it came to the safety of the boat. We learned that honesty is a vital necessity for trust.
From Erick Lundin (Pastoral Support)
My wife asked me to write down some advice about being cooped up in isolation. My first thought is “Don’t hold grudges.” Secondly, “Be honest with others.”
When we lived on a 40 ft sailboat, we were anchored in the middle of a river in Panama. My son and I were down below having a very heated argument. My son broke off and went up on deck while I stayed down below still feeling the emotions. Suddenly, I hear, “DAD! It’s a crock!” Geez, teenagers just know how to punch your buttons. I responded as I stormed up on deck, “I’ll show you a crock!” My son says. “No, Dad.” Pointing at the water, “It’s a big croc!” It was a croc. A big 12-foot crocodile right beside our boat.
I did apologize and explain to him what I thought I heard. Afterwards, I had a serious talk with myself about letting emotions get out of control.
To this day, I don't remember what the argument was about, but I do remember the golden lesson learned.
For ten years my husband and I lived on a boat that was 40 feet long and 12 feet wide with our teenage son. At times we were at sea for weeks at a time, which meant that we were more isolated than we are now. We did not have phone or computer or amazon prime. We had each other. We also could not get away from each other.
Living with one another meant respecting each other’s privacy. We discovered that privacy is more an attitude than it is a separation by space or walls. We chose to either ignore or learn to enjoy our son’s music choices. Human bodies at time produce bad smells-get over it. Respect each other’s space, property and emotions. Look the other way. Listen to each other, really listen when someone wants to tell you something. Try to find ways to avoid hearing when they don’t. And pretend you didn’t hear when you can’t. Wear clothes that do not scandalize your fellow voyagers. And bathe whenever it rains.
One of the best ways to avoid spreading the Covid-19 virus is to wash your hands often. And when you cannot wash, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. I’ve noticed that my hands have become really dry. I complained to Erick about this, but he is a retired nurse. No sympathy.
But now, my touch screen isn’t working and my Iphone and Ipad cannot read my fingerprints. Bad enough I can’t visit with anyone, but now the alcohol and soap has limited my capacity to message or swipe. How can I reach out when my phone doesn’t recognize me?
I plan to keep washing my hands. Maybe moisturizer will help. Here’s Neil Diamond’s take on hand washing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPLgsV_Ms3Q
As we weighed the dogs this morning, Erick said to me, Fay, since you are home more often, you are going to have stop giving the dogs treats. They are gaining way too much weight. And then, I weighed myself. Yes, I need to stop giving myself extra treats too. Too much coffee and chocolate wire me up. Then I sit at the computer. I become frustrated –because I am not a computer person- and then I get up and find myself in front of the refrigerator. Add to that I listen to too much news, which feeds my anxiety. And again, without thinking I find myself back at the fridge. This pattern needs to stop.
So I have decided to be more intentional. I will exercise. I will limit my coffee. I will drink more water. I will exercise my dogs. I will not share my treats, because I will not treat myself so often. And when I feel anxious because of the news reports, I will turn off the news. I will pause, slow my breathing, and I will reach out to my God in prayer.
I wish you Peace. God bless.
My family lived in our sailboat for ten years. We lived at sea for two of those years. I thought that it might be helpful to those isolating themselves at home to write about some of the things we learned about living at sea with a teenager in a 39 foot sloop sailboat.
Here we are as our son heads to shore with his dog Sam.This was our sailing vessel Camelot. Big for a boat, tiny for a home. A lot about cruising comes down to state of mind. We were considered adventurers. We chose to live this way because we felt it was worth it. Someone living in a cabin of the same dimensions in the woods could be the uni-bomber. We have to decide that the social distancing and physical isolation we are practicing is worth it for our loved ones, and for others.