“O, God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.”*


[Passing a buoy near Havoysund, Norway, aboard the “MS Richard With”]

To learn of another slaughter—this time in Oregon; ten murdered this time—while traveling along the coast of Norway was to experience such deep, crushing desolation as I had not felt in years.  And asking my standard, spiritual-guidance question: “What am I asked to do?” merely let me see that an “answer” that might have come to me had I been home, to send off a generous contribution to Gabby Gifford’s Americans for Responsible Solutions, was no solution at all. (That I realized my stateside instinct might have been TO DO SOMETHING almost made me smile—an indulgent, pat-on-the-head/ isn’t-that-so-cute smile you might give to someone young or naive or sweetly clueless.)

No, I slowly came to understand as I gloomily stared through a rain-swept window at Norway’s stark and misty beauty, what was being asked of me was actually so much harder: I had to “sink down”  to that desolation. I was being asked not be numbed. (And, yes, President Obama subsequently used that same word.)

So I did.

*Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.
Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?
Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.
~Winfred Ernest Garrison

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  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and dearest and precious sisterfriend Christian woman who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!! I so, so love and like a whole bunch this very amazingly remarkable and blessedly inspiring blog post article of yours, sister!!!!!! I thank-you so, so very much and so, so very profusely for this, sisterfriend, as I know your other very grateful and appreciatve readers do as well my dear friend!!!!!!! I’m so, so very thrilled and overjoyed for you that you had your grand trip to very beautiful, scenic, and picturesque Norway!!!!!! You must have had such a grandly great and a fun time, Patricia!!!!!!

    Your very fine and excellent blog post article speaks very much to me, sister! I am very much in awe and amazed by our Good Great God’s Vastness and how great is the sea along with our Good Loving God’s world and universe. I’m so small in my small boat, too, sister, as we all are in the Great Sweet and Powerful Vastness and God’s Very scheme of things, sisterfriend! I am challenged as well feeling so small and frail, not knowing how and what practical and concrete actions to take with this tragedy in Oregon, and with all of the other crises which keep happening, Patricia! I know how our President Obama said that prayers and thoughts are not enough but I feel with all of my very heart, and my very heart, soul, and spirit with all that I have within me and my very human being that prayers and thoughts are enough, Patricia, along with very vitally important, urgent, and necessary practical and concrete actions. I’m very challenged by you, sister, and your so, so very inspirational blog post article, and your very powerfully spirit-filled words, my friend! I, too, ask myself, “What am I called to do?” I For Always pray, send my very heartfelt and lovingly caring and sensitive prayers and thoughts with positive energy yet I wonder about what are the practical and concrete actions for me to take when these very evil and so vast and tragic atrocities take place. I feel so powerless a lot of the time as I feel so small and frail in the bigger picture of things and I think that the best that I can give and offer is to give my very heart and my time to these matters with my loving and ardently frequent thoughts and prayers, sister!!!!!! I think donating to worthy causes is a very practical and concrete action to do and I would as well if only I had the means to do so, sister, but with my very low and fixed income with my disability benefits I am unable to do so although my very heart yearns and aches wanting to do more financially with donating more often to very worthy causes. I try to make up for what I cannot do financially with my very often prayers and thoughts and to pray without ceasing, sister. I, too, like you, sisterfriend, won’t escape into numbness and am sitting with my pain and grief over the Oregon tragedy and all of the other tragedies, my dearest friend. Your marvelous contribution by our splendid Winfred Ernest Garrison’s astounding poem perfectly complements and adds to so graciously your very magnificent blog post article, Patricia!!!!!! I am just so very blessed by your, my sisterfriend Christian woman, and also inspired by you and your wonderful blog post article and all of your very superbly super writings, Patricia!!!!! I thank-you so For Always for the very bountiful blessing of you, sister, and for all of your wondrously wonderful writings, my friendsister!!!!!!

    Please have a fantastically fun-filled Friday, and a wondrously wonderful weekend, Patricia, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, my dearest and darling and so very precious friend and sister!!!!!! Thank-you so For Always for all you do just as I know that your other very grateful and appreciative readers think and feel the very same way that I do!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so very precious white sisterfriend Christian woman, Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my sister, and with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my so very dear friend,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

  2. A new angle on what a vacation really means — distance from the usual, impossibility of falling into well-greased ways.

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