“We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty.” ~G.K. Chesterton (b. 1874- d. 1936)
Having dined early last evening, I left the premises of my domicile to attend a get-together at a friend’s house. My starting point might be located by throwing a pin at a large world map, where the pin would find said house in this former Eden in a long river valley. The valley is ladened with a decaying infrastructure, and long-standing decaying self-worth; though, recently, hopes have been lifted by the arrival of life- sized nutcrackers. The nutcrackers have been created by the elfin offspring of two former Operation Rescue workers who have sprinkled a golden touch throughout the valley. Thankfully, the valley inhabitants are now finding themselves encountering such emotions as hope, and a bit of local pride.
Back to the gathering: I arrived to it in my gas-powered carriage, and there noted, in the yard, remnants of the ongoing infrastructure decline. There was a recently dug hole in the yard which was surrounded by orange reflective construction signs, and green pins. The pins were set to warn of underground gas lines. Obviously there had been another water line break in the area; though the princess who lived in the cottage had been away when it had occurred. She related to me that the men who oversaw these strange underground utilities lines, had arrived and repaired the break while she was out. So, there was, again, some reason to hope: for even amidst trouble, crews were on the job, keeping the water and gas flowing, which, at minimal, made the people happy.
Returning to last night’s get-together: it occurred in the season which is what Catholics like to call pre-Lent. In pre-Lent, you might find, in this fair village, lots of chocolate and wine. Our hostess did not disappoint. She offered both of these fine gifts of the gods. It was, indeed, a delightful pre-Lenten moment, the memory of which, might sustain a person through those Forty Days yet to come.
But, again, to the gathering: there was much talk, and nearly a bit of tears, over the wine and chocolates, as the inhabitants of the valley live lives like all men. Their lives are routinely rocked about by forces of chaos, and sometimes by the encountering of actual evil. Some get a slice of such chaos and evil in proportions which are often difficult to bear. However, I noticed that even when my fellow gathering attendees were close to tears, when speaking of their trying circumstances, they quickly changed to laughter. They, to me, displayed the living gift of Faith. Their Faith actively transformed the sufferings of their lives into the living sufferings of Christ. The Incarnation of God, Christmas, seems to have changed everything about them, and about their lives.
The light of Christ was, and is, evident in them, and the light was shining in the darkness.
It makes one conclude that everything that Christ said is true.
Christians are the light of the world.
They are not free of trials and sufferings, but such sufferings are made bearable by the uniting of them to the sufferings of Christ; and the sharing of them with family and friends, makes them tolerable.
We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. (G.K. Chesterton, paraphrase)
So, if you ever think you are alone on this stormy sea of life, in this broken Eden, do remember you are not alone. There are a host of other souls walking towards heaven with you, and they are members of the Body of Christ, members of the Roman Catholic Church, and they are not getting off the proverbial, but real, boat.
My drive home from this little gathering was cloaked in fog. It had rained all day, and the temperatures had warmed, which must have created the perfect conditions for ground clouds. I turned on my fog lamps, but they seemed to do little to create more light. I could only see about thirty feet in front of me.
Yes, that’s the way life is.
We have just the grace for each day as St. Therese tells us in her Little Way. We do not have the grace for years ahead. And, Our Lord told us, most lovingly, and ardently, that His grace is sufficient for the day.
Indeed it is.
The boat might be rocking, but it is the boat of the Roman Catholic Church, and on it we stay, with Christ, loyal to the end, by the grace of God, and frequent recourse to the sacraments.
May you have a good day.
~Image: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt, painted in 1632, source.