Some time ago, our family traveled across the mountains to the west side to visit some old friends in Port Angeles. Lori is Jeanne’s best friend. They’ve known each other since age four. Lori is married to Curt, whom I consider to be a master fisherman. In 1987, Curt caught a 215-pound halibut. His freezer is typically filled with halibut, salmon and shrimp.
During our last stay, Curt took me shrimping. We left their home about 5:30 a.m. in his truck with boat in tow. We arrived at John Wayne Marina near Sequim a short while later. Once on the water, we took the boat east several miles. The conditions were pretty good. As we skimmed across the surface of the water, I had an odd sensation. My stomach was becoming a little queasy. I was surprised by the way I was feeling.
I was raised in Port Townsend, which, like Port Angeles, is on the Olympic Peninsula. As a child and young adult, I would go out with my dad fishing all the time on the salt water. I was never seasick when we were in that boat. Further, I am a four-year veteran of the United States Coast Guard. During my tour, half of that time was spent at Group Cape Hatteras, in Search and Rescue operations off the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
On this day, however, I had a churning in my tummy. I said nothing about it to Curt. After an hour, we returned to the traps and brought them up. They were filled with shrimp. We each kept 120 of the 5-inch critters. Thankfully, my stomach had finally settled down. Given my background, I never would have guessed that I could ever have a hint of seasickness. Life is full of surprises.
The Gospels tell us the story of Jesus making a boating trip with the disciples under adverse conditions. The disciples were terrified, but Jesus calmed the storm and dissipated their fears.
There may be times in our lives where we think we are immune to certain difficulties. However, life may surprise us. Good thing is that we don’t have to shout out at Jesus to catch his attention. He’s always been in the boat with us, sensing our unease and queasiness. He knows our prayers even before they are spoken.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.