Last Saturday morning I drove to a ship that was in port, my van loaded with Christmas Ditty Bags, made by the Women’s Seafarers Friend Society Legacy. As I approached the security Gate, I saw one lone seafarer walking out. (over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting seafarers from a distance!) I asked if he was from the ship and did he need a ride to wherever he was headed. “Yes, I’m the Captain” he kindly said “I’m sure you have more priorities. I’m just heading to some stores to buy a winter jacket. I hear your winters here are quite severe” I invited him into my van nonetheless and told him I’d give him a lift after I drop off these Christmas Gifts. I told him that by helping him get off the ship, away from his duties I was helping both him and his crew. “A rested Captain is a happy Captain!” I said. He agreed and we had a wonderful conversation during our ride to the shopping areas, talking about our families, the recent Thanksgiving holiday here, his country of Russia and such. When I dropped him off he thanked me saying “I feel much better knowing my crew is cared for, and getting to know you a little more. Are you a volunteer with the Seafarers Center?” I explained who I was – the “boss” – and he said “So one captain gave another captain a ride and spent time together. That is Good” I agreed saying ” ‘oichin harosho’ (Russian for very good). When he got out of my van he stuck his head back in and said “Our ship returns in 35 days. Can we continue our conversation then?” I told him I’d meet him at the dock, looking forward to his return.
When we find those peaceful moments, we love to cherish them, hoping that they last longer but knowing our schedule will soon interrupt. My message this season has been about the gift of Time. We don’t give it to ourselves as much as we should. We were created to work, create and tend our gardens but also to rest. It is in those moments of rest that we hear more clearly, think more deeply and learn to trust more fully. May your season of Advent and Christmas be full of the gift of Time. God Bless You. – Rev. Stephen Cushing, Senior Chaplain