Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lay Aside Every Weight

If you viewed my last post, you saw tons of photos from my family's getaway. We left just after Sunday school and had to be back for Cade's Black Belt training at 4:30 pm on Monday. Quick trip, especially considering the 4-5 hours we spent in the car.

Now, we're a laid back sort, so we had only two goals for our time away: to chow down at our favorite seafood buffet in Virginia Beach, and to visit Nauticus: a large naval museum in Norfolk.

Because of our time constraints, we neither watched any films at Nauticus nor toured the battleship Wisconsin, and I spent most of my time in the museum wrangling the girls. For all these reasons, I know: years ago, I would've been frustrated by my experience.

Anymore, though, I've come to understand that--even in chaos, if I keep my eyes open--I will see what I need to see and learn what I need to learn. Because the Holy Spirit is my Teacher.

Yesterday, at Nauticus, I discovered this iron anchor:

The accompanying sign explains: the USS Kittiwake recovered the anchor from the Elizabeth River in 1993. According to the sign, it dates back to the 1800s; weighs 1,800 pounds; and (based upon its weight and size) probably belonged to a large merchant ship or warship. The sign then says: "A ship in danger of being captured or destroyed would often cut her anchor cable and leave the anchor on the bottom to escape as quickly as possible. Did a captain during the War of 1812 abandon this valuable piece of nautical equipment to save his crew and his ship?"

I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I came home and looked up the USS Kittiwake: learned it was a submarine rescue ship for 48 adventure-filled years (1946-1994). In 1986, it recovered the black box from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. These days, it rests "upright in 62 feet of water on a sandy bottom" (source) off the Cayman Islands. But the year before it was decommisioned, it recovered the anchor.

I found, too, an interesting article (p. 3) by Susanne Greene on the conservation of the 11-foot-tall anchor (likely a bower anchor). Because of hurricances, the conservation process took 12 years as opposed to the normal 4-6. Greene describes the anchor as weighing 1,200 pounds and explains that it was stripped of 60 pounds of salt during its preservation.

Doesn't it seem amazing to you that an 11-foot-tall something weighing 1,200-1,800 pounds could go unnoticed for 200 or so years?

And I'm familiar with the metaphor of Hebrews 6:19, in which hope [that God cannot lie when he says something or makes an oath] is called an anchor of the soul. But my mind has moreso been going here, to Hebrews 12:1 (KJV):

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

I've been thinking: a ship once dropped 1,200-1,800 pounds and sailed away. It didn't return for its weight. Over the course of two centuries, neither friend nor foe hauled up its weight. Its weight was abandoned, forgotten at the bottom of a river somewhere.

And what about me? If I cut a cable and left behind everything that slows my spiritual journey, would I ever long to carry that weight again? Would anyone else want that weight? Or would she just watch me pick up speed in my race toward the finish line?

Would she stand there and watch with wind in her hair? Raise her hands and clap? Cut her own cable and follow after, in pursuit of Jesus?

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