By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published May 16, 2019
Whenever I read about Jesus and the disciples in their fishing boat, my mind traipses back in time to the days when my husband and I journeyed through the Gulf of Mexico in a boat called “The Sea Moose.”
My fascination with moose started when I was studying philosophy at the University of Florida. There, professors lectured about respected thinkers who questioned the existence of everything—the chair, the dog and even themselves!
Was the physical world really out there or had we somehow conjured it up? Frankly, this question exasperated me because the answer seemed so patently obvious, but I dutifully went along with the discussions.
Privately, though, I told my friends these philosophers needed to confront a lumbersome, shaggy, in-your-face animal, preferably a moose. Really, who could question the existence of such a beast?
When I married, my husband and I named our house “The Moose Nest,” and our car “The Blue Moose,” so it made sense that when we purchased a boat, we christened it “The Sea Moose.”
As summer approaches, I recall some marvelous adventures in a vessel so humble and small that one Florida local stared at it in disbelief, as we prepared to put the boat in the water, exclaiming, “You’re going out in THAT?”
Yes, indeed, we did go out in THAT, but instead of fishing, we crept around an island where we saw otters, stingrays, herons, roseate spoonbills, dolphins and manatees.
The boat had a quiet, electric engine, which meant we didn’t scare away the critters, including blue crabs that dined on crumbs from our lunches.
We had so many adventures, like the night we were caught in a storm and barely made it to shore. And the afternoon when yours truly discovered a large roach inhabiting the boat and almost capsized the vessel.
I definitely understand the fear that gripped the disciples when that storm arose. After all, there’s something about the sea slapping madly at the boat’s belly and the rain drenching you that puts you face-to-face with the cold, hard truths of reality.
You don’t need a philosopher to debate whether the danger is real and whether the sea really exists, nor do you need anyone pontificating on whether there is life after death.
Your entire being concentrates on survival and the very real possibility that you’ll end up flailing in the water with some hungry sea creature eagerly awaiting his next meal, which is you.
Boating also has given me a real sense of the fright Peter experienced when he climbed out of the vessel and began walking toward Jesus. I’m guessing that when he kept his sights set firmly on Jesus, he lost his fear, but the moment his mind started churning out doubts, he began sinking.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “Patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith.”
Jesus’ disciples knew the meaning of patience, as they depended on fishing for sustenance, and probably spent many hours casting the net into the sea. How wonderful when they glimpse the risen Lord from their boat, standing on the shore.
How lovely that Peter was so keen on seeing Jesus that he jumped out of the boat and swam to shore. How glorious that the risen Lord helped the disciples fill their net with 153 fish, which surely made for a fine celebration that day.
At night, before falling asleep, I sometimes imagine what heaven might be like. And there is always “The Sea Moose” chugging quietly along with my husband and me in our usual places and an abundance of manatees and dolphins surrounding us.
And there is no time, and no illness, and no tears and no pain or loneliness anymore—just the endless rising and falling of the sea, the sweet love of the Lord and the knowledge that the voyage of “The Sea Moose” will go on forever
Artwork is an oil painting by Lorraine’s late husband, Jef, called “Gulf Stream.” His website is jefmurray.com. You may contact Lorraine at firstname.lastname@example.org .