Years later, in 1957 the Mayflower II was built as a replica, and set out on the Mayfower's historic journey. On the trip it likewise experienced gales similar to the ones the pilgrims survived, and furled the sails. The Mayflower II reported that even though she was under bare poles in a howling gale, her slablike topsides functioned as a kind of wooden storm sail, magically steadying the ship’s motion. Almost perfectly balanced , the Mayflower II sat like a contented duck amid the uproar of the storm. After being pounded unmercifully by the waves, the ship was finally at peace.
“I reflected that the Pilgrim Fathers, who tossed through many such a wild night in Atlantic storms, at least knew tranquility in great gales,” -Captain Alan Villiers, Mayflower II
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39
No, I'm feeling battered and bruised. I've felt no peace in this present darkness. But, I have felt comfort only in acknowledging in my mind that yes, Jesus is here, and yes, He is still in charge of the wind and the storm, though I see Him not. I know for a fact that it does not matter who lies about me or champions those lies to my face. I can sit in silence and meet their cold deceived gaze without giving them so much as a word in my defense, whether saint or sinner, friend or frien-emy. In the past two months, I've suffered lies, and liars, users, and misusers, as well as those who would deceive their own souls into believing they can steal one of my gloves and call me one-armed. Well, we all know that if you take both my gloves, I still have my arms. Saying what I don't have doesn't make it so. And, you could cut off both my arms, but you will never keep my heart from issuing a hug.
What am I talking about? Only God Himself knows. So, let me talk about physical pain. It seems to be regressing. I've had difficulty getting through the house for over a week. I've fallen a few times. And, my hip seems to have been swollen so that the pain was unbearable. But, today it seems to be on the mend. Contrary to what we said in childhood I guess, sticks and stones, and even broken bones hurt not so much as words wound the spirit.
So, now that we're in the same ship, back to the Mayflower. It seems that gales can be deceptively tranquil, if you allow yourself to be easily deluded, and you are from a landlocked town. A young indentured servant named John Howland was from the inland town of Fenstanton, Huntingdon-shire. Now, the Mayflower had been at sea for more than a month, and it was stuffy and smelly. John decided that since the ship seemed tranquil, he would go up on deck for some fresh air in the middle of the storm. Not a smart idea, I know. But, climb up he did. And, stepping onto the deck with the wind howling all around, and the huge foam-specked waves towering overhead, John was tossed overboard when the ship lurched suddenly. That was not the end of him though. The topsail halyard which raises and lowers the sails was dangling over the side and trailing behind the ship. Howland was a strong twenty-something, and like a cat he grabbed that rope and held on for dear life. Even though the sea continued to drag him down more than ten feet he hung on to the ropes, which the sailors managed to haul back in and they pulled him in with a boat hook. When William Bradford wrote about the incident more than ten years later, John Howland was alive and well, and he and his wife were already well on their way to raising ten children who would give birth to a total of eighty-eight grandchildren. But, John came across on the Mayflower the hard way.
Whether I'm asleep peacefully below deck, tranquil in the storm, or I'm being dragged through the waves, I'm holding on to the ship. I know that if I just hang on awhile longer, I will be rescued. I don't really need anyone's permission to go right on living and loving, just as I have been for the past five decades. And, now I guess there's no one left to worry about offending, so why mince words if God has put them in my heart. Since no one is deciding when it is my time to die but God Himself, I will go when He is good and ready. Until then, I pray those offended by my presence will look the other way.
P.S. My son Travis and my husband Larry are men. Their opinions and thoughts are their own. Don't make the mistake of thinking I influence either of them in their opinions, though I admit they influence mine. They've got minds and souls, and they have their eyes open. I mostly keep my mouth shut when someone hurts me. If one of them doesn't admire someone, then maybe anyone concerned should just pray about why that might be the case.