Common Bond 16.7.18


Over the weekend I went sailing on the Norfolk Broads with three long standing friends from church, Neil, Tim and Bob. It was primarily thanks to Neil, into whose sailing cruiser we squeezed our four middle aged frames. We have all been sailing before but not as a group for nearly a decade!

On our first evening we moored on the open water of Horsey Mere and once we had eaten and made the boat tidy for the night, we were aware of the utter tranquility of the location; silence save for the wind’s gentle blowing through the reed beds, the lapping of water against the boat and the occasional sounds of birds high in the fading light.  It had been a stunning blue sky day and the evening light persisted until nearly midnight, fading slowly into a deep red line across the water, before paling to grey.

We stared upwards into the heavens watching in awe and wonder as first planets then the stars began to shine in the night sky. A shooting star streaked across our field of vision and then much more slowly the path of a satellite. We could see constellations and star clusters, the dust of heaven laid out over our heads. Is it any wonder that mankind used to think the world was flat and that the heavens were placed all around us, with earth at the epicentre? Early civilisations may have got their astronomy wrong, but the utter wonder of the divine design of nature is still unmistakeable when you stop to look.

In the quiet of the boat on both that first evening and equally the second, our voices were naturally low, as we sat and spoke of the concerns of our lives, companions together and it became clear to me how much better life is when lived among friends. Four guys sharing as we each felt able, listening with care and consideration, encouraging and commenting with sensitivity and mutual wisdom. Our closing prayers, both nights, were times of quiet blessing.

Taking the time away to rest and reflect are critical to emotional and spiritual well being. We committed together to not neglect this aspect of life in each of the key relationships we enjoy, most of all with our wives and families. It takes time to slow down but it is truly worth the effort, for only in the calmer waters is there time for reflection and renewal.

A common bond

Friendship,
Born of our common journey
Full twenty years in the making,
Births a time of fellowship
Far deeper than the waters
On which we sailed
That summer’s evening.
So much was common to us all;
The shared ground of life’s ambitions
Thwarted,
Of love and partnership,
Of parenthood and hard effort
In breadwinning.
But deeper still
The graced encounter
With the Maker of us all,
Whose call to faith leaves
Much unknown,
That our choice to follow
Marks the road less travelled
With the scars of perseverance
And the secret joys of life long love.

(c) Martin Wild 2018

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