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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the boat

the boat

It was a small town nestled in a cove by the ocean.  Isolated and quiet.  All of the townspeople were happy, or at least they appeared to be so.  The main industry of the small town was building boats.  To be a master boat builder was an honored and aspired to position.  The builders guild however was a very political organization.  There were general guidelines for building boats, some basic rules to follow that everybody knew however within the guild, all the craftsmen argued and contended over which was the right way to build a proper vessel.  All the boats had flaws, and none were perfect.  Some had small leaks, others simply did not float and their owners simply abandoned them and went seeking another boat instead of simply fixing some of the obvious deficiencies.  There was no engineering, no formal education.  Instead, knowledge was passed from parents to their children. 

Hamish was a young carpenter who dreamed of being an explorer.  It was his dream to learn how to build his own boat and sail off into the sunset, exploring, discovering and ultimately retiring on a paradisiacal island.  When he was young, he would spend much of his time down at the docks.  Observing, gleaning, watching and drinking it all in.  He would watch the boats captained by different people from every walk of life.  He also saw the detail of the boats themselves.  How the ribs were made, the joints sealed.  The adornments and the many different aspects fascinated him to no end.  He would watch the many builders and their techniques for carving,  joining, splicing, sealing and measuring everything in minute detail.  Most of all though, he watched his parents.  They had a boat of their own that they started to construct many years ago.  It served them well and was really, a passable structure.  It wasn’t lavish or adorned with all the accoutrements of some of the other ships but they were happy.  They had, over time, discovered together how to fix the leaks that were bound to pop up as the boat aged.  They were quite efficient at it, working together.  They both had their roles in patching, sealing and bailing the water out. 
When Hamish was a young man, he began to practice.  He would start using the tools that his parents would give him.  Never ones that were too much for him to handle, but as he grew, he was given more and more tools and his experiments began to take shape and some even floated along for a little while.  He learned something from every one that he built.  Some were successful and some were not, but he learned, and that learning was for his benefit.
Suzy was a young girl.  She too lived in the town by the ocean and had watched others building boats all her life.  She aspired to one day meet someone and sail away in happiness. Her perspective was somewhat different though.  Her parents also had a boat when she was growing up.  They chose to sail on rough seas and just didn’t ever seem to get the cooperation down that was required to keep a boat afloat.  Leaks would spring up and one of them would rush to patch it.  At the same time, the other was poking at a knot in the wood elsewhere, only causing another leak.  It seemed to be a losing battle until one day, that’s what happened.  Her father left the boat.  Jumped overboard and swam out into the ocean.  He found a raft occupied by another woman.  He climbed aboard and set sail.
Abandoned, and hurt, Suzy was left with her mother and her other siblings.  Eventually her mother went on to find another builder.  A somewhat smaller boat, but that meant less maintenance, less leaks.  It also meant shorter voyages so they stayed within the confines of the lagoon, but they were together.
Suzy and Hamish met.  They shared their aspirations for sailing, exploring and voyaging to new lands. Eventually, they decided to build their own boat together.  Having different backgrounds, and different experiences, they had varying opinions on how to construct their craft.  But, they managed to do it as best they could.  For the first season, the boat went through all the normal breaking in.  There were some major cracks and some times that they had to pull the boat out of the water to get a really good look at it and fix the problems.  A lot of the cracks were superficial, caused small leaks.  Those ones were easy to fix.  Sometimes they could do it individually but others required both of them, one bailing while the other one sealed, and patched.  But they managed.
At the end of the first season, Hamish noticed a flaw.  Nothing huge, but still, a flaw.  Down in the bottom of the boat, way down in the far end of the bow, there was a flaw.  It wasn’t on the outer shell, so others didn’t see it.  Instead, it was on the main frame of the boat.  The foundation upon which all the other elements depended.  It didn’t seem like that big of a deal at first. It was just a flaw, not anything that was causing a leak. He talked to Suzy and she decided that it wasn’t really a flaw at all.  That’s just the way things are.  When you build things with wood, there are going to be little imperfections but this one wasn’t worth worrying about.  “I’ve seen plenty of my friends ships, and they have things like that in them.” She would say.  Hamish didn’t think that was quite right. But still, he went along with it, after all, it was on the inside of the boat… and water wasn’t pouring in.  Still, it bugged him… In the back of his mind, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to go out onto the ocean with a vessel that was flawed.

Time passed, seasons came and seasons went.  Hamish and Suzy went on repairing the small cracks and doing the required maintenance.  As it turns out, the imperfection in the wood turned out to be mold.  It started to spread, and grow.  More and more of the frame of the vessel began to weaken with the black covering.  This of course, caused other problems.  When the frame is weak and starts to move and deflect with the waves, then there are more cracks that appear more failures, more water.  About 5 seasons in, there was a substantial failure.  Broken boards on the outside of the ship.  They were lucky to get it back to port and with the help of a few friends, out of the water.  They didn’t know exactly what to do so they asked a friend what the best course of action would be.  He told them of a professional that could help.  Seemingly, with no other option, they went to see the professional.  Now the term professional can be used in many different ways.  You would think that the professional they would seek would be a boat builder, but alas, he was not.  Now he was not totally inexperienced.  20 years ago, he had a boat, which he sailed with his partner.  He thought it was successful as he paddled around the lagoon and was perfectly content.  He and his wife, happy, living life, staying close to the shore.  Then one day, his wife tragically passed away.  The circumstances were unknown however the day that it happened he had decided never to sail again.  And so he didn’t.  He was content to stay on the shore, and advise others on how to build their own boats, how to fix them in particular.
So, they talked, and he listened.  Well, he tried to listen.  When Hamish mentioned the mold on the skeleton of the boat he was quickly reprimanded.  “That’s normal…It’s just there..”  “There’s nothing wrong with it, just leave it alone and it’ll go away… be patient” were the responses he got.  In the end, they were able to fix the broken boards on the outside, but the mold remained.  The professional did give them some paint however.  “Just paint over the mold and then go on with life, don’t worry about it”

Meanwhile, Suzy started to panic.  Her memories of her parents came back to her with all the emotions and feelings of abandonment.  She remembered her parents boat, and how it was in such disrepair that eventually her father jumped.  And she didn’t want that.  Didn’t want to become her mom, and didn’t want Hamish to leave like her dad.  So she tried.  She did just what she was told.  She painted over the mold and worked extra hard to keep the boat looking it’s best from the outside.  There were still flaws, still wear and tear, but she was doing what she knew how to do.

Seasons came, seasons went.  Many things happened; they went many places, but never voyaging too far from their home, just in case.  Mold, as it does, continued to grow, continued to weaken the main beams within.  Another coat of paint, another covering as it continued to rot.  More and more frequent problems with the rest of the ship as a result.  Hamish knew what the problem was. He also knew that in order to fix it, that they would have to stop painting over it and attack the problem at its source together.  He suggested it many times, tried many different methods for convincing her that they could fix it.  It would take work, and effort, and it would have to become a priority, but they could do it.  Suzy insisted, as before, that her friends boats were the same.  And that paint was all that was necessary. “I just don’t think it’s a problem” she would argue.  So it went unrepaired.

So Suzy and Hamish stayed on the top deck of the boat.  Suzy, because she didn’t see the purpose in looking at the frame of the boat; and Hamish, because he had given up.  He knew that he would never realize his dream of sailing away into the ocean.  Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be.  He resigned himself to the fact that he would spend his life, bailing out water, circling the cove until one day, the boat would sink, and he would go to shore, alone, and stay there.  No more dreaming, no aspirations.

And, as he suspected, it started.  The boat slowly started to sink.  Ever so slowly. The vessel started floating lower, and lower in the water.  Almost imperceptible to most, but blatantly obvious to Hamish.  Even Suzy didn’t want to see it, and so she didn’t.  After all, they were still afloat.  She continued painting the parts of the boat that were above water.  The parts that people would see.  “Look, we have a decent boat.” She would tell her friends.  “See the fresh coat of paint?  I know, there was that problem years ago, but we saw a professional and we fixed it.  Let me tell you how….”

Other people gave advice.  Hamish’ s friends also had boats and they gave suggestions that they thought would work.  They were truly trying to be helpful.  “Just reinforce this beam” or “Make sure that you seal everything really well” they would say.  After all, that worked for them.  The problem was, none of them had the same mold, in the same spot.  So their fixes simply wouldn’t work.

Seasons came, seasons went.  Suzy and Hamish spent their time above deck.  More and more frequently at opposite ends of the ship.  Suzy thought it was more efficient.  She could see everything from the front, and Hamish could see everything from the back.  Hamish didn’t care.  The boat was sinking anyway.

Hamish awoke one day and looked around.  He looked out to the ocean, where he wanted to go, but knew that he would never make it.  He looked at the boat they had built, water creeping up the side.  He looked back to the town, bustling with activity but going on without even really noticing the couple on the apparently sinking ship.

And he jumped.

It was a difficult decision, the hardest thing he had ever done.  He jumped away from the boat that he had built, that he had repaired and maintained for years and years.  Swimming is not Hamish’s strong suit.  He could do it if he needed to… but he didn’t like it.  Still, he felt he had no choice.  Swim now, or swim later he thought.  That was the only difference.  So on he went.  Not towards the shore, not towards the town, not to another boat, but out to the ocean.  He was on his way.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Well... We're off!  Roadtrip for the Family Day long weekend it is.  

So here we go... 6 kids, two hotel rooms, galaxy land, water park and the rest of West Edmonton mall.



Wish us luck!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Marriage and humor...

Okay... there was a post from another blog that I found where a group of women were asked to give their advice in one short statement about how to make a marriage work.  Really, there were a lot of good things in the post.  If you want to read it, here it is.

There are however some, that in my opinion, are more funny and, well, detrimental to a marriage than anything else.

So here they are...

- Two magic words, “Yes, dear”. Very freeing! The pressure just dissolves. I feel happy, generous, and relieved.
(Subservience at it's finest)

- I will not engage in an argument because the spirit will not be there.
(Avoidance...always the best policy)

- Never expect him to come home at a certain time; that way you’re not disappointed when he is late.
(Lower your expectations, that makes life so much easier.)

-Work on your relationship with yourself and with the Lord before trying to FIX your marriage or parenting.
(Yes, your spouse should come 3rd...or maybe 4th)

- Remember these three words: you’re probably right!
(Now go get him a sandwich...and come back naked.)

Now I'm not all cynical and nitpicky... so go back to the top and go to the original post... there really is a lot of good stuff there.

My favorite quote was...

“You don’t stop dancing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop dancing!” Keep the fun in your marriage.

Good advice..

New beginning...

You can't have a new beginning without being done with something from the past.  Otherwise, it's just a same beginning and who wants that?

So there are some things that I've decided I'm done with.

...letting other peoples anger affect me.

...hiding who I am and who I am not (I've been working on this one for a while now.)

...keeping one foot in the past.

...waiting for someone else to make an effort.

...punishing myself for things I cannot control.

...worrying about what others may think, which is easier said than done.

...owning other peoples emotions. I can still be sensitive to them without taking ownership.

...making an effort in relationships that are clearly not important enough to the other party to warrant that effort. 

...comparing myself, my life and what I am to a former system of beliefs.  I can still be a good person weather I'm accepted or not by that particular organization.

...debating and justifying myself to others. (Although, I like a good discussion and am still open to that, it doesn't need to be for the purpose of justification for myself or for the convincing of others.)

So onward and upward.  I'll move forward trying to be a good person, a good dad, a good husband.  I will base my emotions on my own terms and circumstance.  I will love and show love how I want to and I'm grateful for a partner that allows that freedom.