Am I still a sailor when I’m not at sea?
I can hardly remember a time before I could sail. I was taught how to tie a fender on and how to tack a dinghy about the time I started school. The practical skills of sailing and later of navigation have been learnt through the generous teaching of family and friends, and some professional instruction along the way. Yet it’s not just that I can tie a bowline or know how to use that knot to attach the jib sheets or to secure the boat in her berth: I have learnt to love and respect the sea. The wide open space of it, the unpredictability of the weather, I love it. I love it even at two in the morning when I come on watch knowing that on my watch – whatever else it may bring – it will bring the joy of being at sea as the dawn’s new light breaks the dark night into sea and sky. The joy too of sailing in an effective crew, with friends old and new, and on occasion having the privilege of leading as skipper.
So, am I still a sailor when I’m not at sea? Surely that’s like asking ‘am I still a Christian when I’m not in church?’. My passion for sailing and my passion for Christ are not bounded by the boat or the building, they are my way of life. They are who I am, why I am, my identity.