I am blessed to have a good job as a merchant marine working in New York harbor and to work for a great company that takes an care of it’s employees. So what do I do you may ask? Basically, I’m a floating “gas station” attendant for commercial ships when they come to New York. I don’t pump gasoline but a blended “bunker fuel” and there’s no nozzle, but rather a 6″ diameter hose that’s hoisted up to the ship and bolted to a flanged fitting. I deal in metric tons instead of gallons and usually pump at a rate that would fill up the standard SUV in about 2 seconds. It’s a cool job, but it has it’s drawbacks and that’s what I’d like to share with you in this note.
One of my struggles with my job is loneliness and depression. I’m not talking about “can’t get out of bed” or “wish I was dead” depression, rather a “funk” that comes over you and makes it hard to get going. I’m sure a lot of these feelings have to do with being away from my family 28 days at a crack and I know the men and women who sacrifice and serve our country know what I’m talking about. It’s not that bad when you are busy though. When there are multiple loads and discharges and you get into a routine the time seems to fly by and the next thing you know your time is up. But what happens when we’re slow and there’s no routine? What happens when it’s your turn to go hang on the mooring buoy for day after day? Well for me the funk cloud starts to settle and I pound the cookies and keep the Direct TV tuned for re-run movies, ESPN, and Fox News.
I share that with you so I can share this. Yesterday I started reading a book titled Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo and its a story about his 4 year old son, Colton, who has an out of body experience during an emergency surgery. I don’t know if you’re a person of faith or believe in God or Heaven and maybe that’s a conversation for another day. But I am a believer and I though I don’t know where I stand on out of body experiences its a pretty cool story. A lot of what Todd goes through in his trial is similar to what Deb and I went through 20 years ago with our Colton. Again, another story for another day. Anyway, I haven’t been spending too much time reading my Bible lately. I know, bad Christian, no wonder you feel mopey. I get it. This morning instead of the usual Mike and Mike or Fox and Friends I chose to watch Joyce Meyers. She’s a Bible teacher on TBN and her messages are pretty straight forward and today’s message was no different. She said, “If you don’t like the circumstances you’re in than change them. Change what you can and let God change what you can’t.” That struck a cord with me.
You see I can’t change the fact that there’s not enough work to go around. I can’t change the fact that my barge is stuck on the mooring buoy. But what I can change and did change is my attitude. Instead of moping around trying to eat everything in the cabinet, I studied a couple of verses and had a quiet time with the Lord. I was led to the story of Saul on the road to Damascus. It’s in the book of Acts, chapter six, and tells how the incarnate Jesus meets Saul on the right and strikes him down, blinding him. After the two share some conversation and Saul becomes a believer (changed his name to Paul), Jesus says “Get up and go…” Jesus was giving Paul instructions and it’s like those four words jumped off the page and slapped me right in the face. Get up and go, get up and go, get up off you sorry tail and go do something. You know what I did? I got up and did something. Nothing to exciting. I Changed the oil in one of our generators. I washed the outside of our deck office, prepped and painted the deck office. Not bad. Then I came in, cleaned up, and desided to share this note with you.
I don’t know how you’re feeling today. I do know there’s a God who loves you and he has a plan for you. You might not know what that plan is. But you know what? You’ll never find out unless you “Get up and Go.”