Monday, April 27, 2009


The relationship between a man and his ship is nearly incomprehensible for the average landlubber. The vessel is more than just wooden ribs or a metal hull—she is a living organism. At sea, her crew becomes attuned to her innermost intricacies and within days of first meeting, they are a seamless mechanism-an active and absolute symbiosis. She becomes their home, in some cases, their protection. It is understandable then that a decommissioning is much like the passing of a dear friend and conversely, that a commissioning can bring a swell of emotion and pride to the throat of even the most seasoned sailor.

This weekend I had the privilege of attending the commissioning ceremony of the USS Truxtun, the Navy’s newest destroyer, with my father. The crowd was comprised of the usual assortment of uniforms, young sun-dressed Navy-wives, children who can’t yet grasp the greatness of this life they are a part of and Veterans. Scores of Veterans in tweed jackets, loud patriotic ties and ship’s caps that have weathered more generations than I have lived. Some are bedecked with medals, some with pins. All bespeak the rich histories of these men who are, in themselves, national treasures.

We sat in rows of plastic chairs facing a scorching sun and slapping at the clouds of gnats that threatened to carry us off. We listened quietly as a new command was bestowed. We stood and applauded the bright and energetic young sailors as they ran to their posts and we cheered as the hulking ship came to life. With her colors flying, she and her crew become one—ready to face whatever lies ahead. The voice of the Chaplain rang out over the crowd, invoking the blessing of the Almighty God upon her to the strains of the Navy hymn and bringing tears and memories to many who had been at this place before—

“They’re all plank owners now” says my Father. “No one can ever take that away from you.”

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

the 18th, 8 months later

Completely unwittingly, I logged into my old blog on the exact same day as my last post--just 8 months later.

Who knew how much 8 months could hold.

On August 18th, 2008, I was in my first week of nursing school, single (VERY single) and I had exactly 3 friends in this city. Now, I'm halfway through nursing school, have been married for two months, and have made more friends than I can count.

About 3 weeks ago, I had my best friend change the password on my facebook account so I couldn't be distracted by it for the last month or so of school. The absence of my favorite vice forced me back into the land of the living where people use pen and paper to communicate and where they sit over coffee or tea to chat. It's been an invigorating past couple of weeks--I started running again, started going to yoga and I wrote letters. I dug out dusty boxes of creamy white stationary and favorite pens and a part of me that had been supressed by Mac-worship came alive. I also inadvertently unearthed several old journals and found myself almost distraught at having let 8 months get away from me with only facebook statuses to document their goings-on.

I've felt somewhat renewed in the last month--the realization that I'm halfway through school and less than 8 months away from truly beginning my adult life has put an extra little bit of verve in my step. Perhaps I'll start a new journal and perhaps I'll keep this blog up a bit more.