During a 2013 deployment, the crew of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DDG-58) pulled pier-side for a little rest and relaxation. As was my custom, I would conduct a “pastoral patrol” around the ship to check on the “sheep.” And as usual, Sailors were already changed over to civilian clothes, anxiously waiting for the commanding officer to announce over the 1MC, “Liberty Call, Liberty Call …” My shipmates were all smiles as they departed the ship. A simple request to go ashore to the quarter deck duty and a positon of attention in the direction of the American flag and they were off to the races.
During one of my pastoral patrols, I stumbled upon a shipmate who had to stay behind to stand duty. I engaged this Sailor by asking him about the thick ropes that were tied to the ship and the pier. He told me that the ropes were called “mooring lines.”
I asked, “What is their significance?”
He told me that without these mooring lines, the ship would be at the mercy of the ocean waves. His response suggested that the mooring lines’ mission was to keep the ship pier-side so that Sailors would return to the pier and find the ship where it was supposed to be. I began to wonder if the same were true for spiritual mooring lines in relation to our professional and personal lives.
I would argue that as mooring lines are vital to holding the 9,000 plus ton, USS Samuel B. Roberts pier side, spiritual mooring lines, such as prayer, meditation and sacred readings are equally – if not more – important because they keep us from drifting from our personal faith, foundational values and moral living. Personal faith has to do with our belief or trust in something or someone greater than self. Foundational values are the values we choose to live by, with great concern of how those values directly impact our choices, actions and character. Moral living is linked to our personal choices, guiding our daily life and decision making processes.
As a 33-year member of the Navy and Marine Corps family, prayer, meditation and sacred scripture readings have proved to be vital spiritual mooring lines in my personal and professional life.
Someone once said, “He that cannot pray, let him to sea, and there he will learn.”
I found this to be true in my life. Prayer was a powerful coping mechanism tool while deployed at sea because it helped me to remain dependent upon God. Meditating upon the sacred scriptures of my Christian faith has served as a means for God revealing His character to me and continues to be a compass for my personal faith, foundational values and moral living.
What are your spiritual mooring lines? Think about this. Talk about this amongst your family and friends. The sooner you identify your spiritual mooring lines, the better you will be prepared to stay pierside and avoid drifting away from your personal faith, foundational values, and moral living. Blessings!