I had a funny thought about my sailing escapades at the weekend. It was the Easter weekend and for three days I was alone on the water but on the last day suddenly the place came alive with other boats and racing, the club house bar opened and there were people about. There is something almost biblical about it.
I have been reading a book recently: "The stature of waiting" by Vanstone. It was recomended as preparation for a placement with a Hospice Chapliancy as part of my training. The gist of the book is that we sometimes find that we are passively waiting as we are subjected to situations that are beyond our control. This is especially true of people suffering from a terminal illness, or something less serious perhapps as retirement or losing a job but the book makes a point of saying that in our everyday life we are often subject to situations beyond our control and all we can do is wait. Our success is less dependant on our ability, wisdom, power or authority and quite often in something quite simple but beyond us, like a power cut or a traffic jam.
One of our Church members has an old 420 that he hasn't sailed in 22 years, it has sat in his garage for all that time collecting a film of grime and garden paraphenalia. He is 87 years old and is finding his increasing immobility frustrating. He was a very active man, ran a very succesful buisness, raced rally cars, flew aeroplanes, played a variety of sports, sailed boats of all types, raised a family. He has been a doer of stuff and now he can't. I can sense his frustration and I wonder how I will be when I cannot do the sailing I love so much.
So I got to thinking about sailing; why I like it so much, what is the attraction? And this is my thought: Sailing a boat has a number of variables to deal with but by and large our 'success' is a matter of our ability to master the elements and our vessel. Maybe this is why it is so relaxing (or should be), why it is so enjoyable, why we get such a sense of achievement. It might seem quite trivial and even pathetic for a grown man to race a small wooden boat around a collection of small plastic bouys but it sure is fun and maybe it restores a sense of sanity to the human soul.
I shall be collecting an old 420 on Thursday morning. The plan is to take it to the club for some of the older Junior sailors to try thier hand at something a little more challanging than a Topper. The thought that is in my mind now is what can I do for my old friend?