It Helps to Be in the Same Boat

I was recollecting my military experience, and more specifically what happened during, and after, bootcamp.  As everyone who has ever served, or maybe even watched it in a movie or on TV, bootcamp is a trying experience.  People shouting, orders, instructions, waking before dawn, waiting for breakfast, waiting for lunch, waiting for dinner, standing inspection, marching, running, should I go on?

But, what I was really thinking about was what happened when bootcamp closed.  We were showing each other how spiffy we looked in our dress uniforms.  I remember going to one of the tailors outside the base and having my first stripe (E-1) sewn on my uniform.  Of course, I was the lowest of the lowest, but nothing could dissuade me from having that stripe sewn on, as well as Chinese cuffs (for those who don’t know, it was always traditional for a sailor to have Chinese dragons sewn into the underside of your dress uniform cuffs.  Then, you could always turn your cuffs inside-out and show them off when you went on Liberty.)

Bootcamp might have been intolerable if it wasn’t for one factor.  There were 60 other guys going through the same thing and we encouraged each other.  No one wanted to ‘wimp out’, so we all went through everything together.

Which brings me to the concept – it helps to all be in the same boat.  Of course, we don’t always have the same experiences, nor do we feel the same hurts or pains, but to know you are not the only one can be encouraging.  Does this concept apply to other things in our life?  Yes, I think it does.

The most powerful aspect of doing anything difficult, like dieting, for example, is the comfort of knowing you are not alone.  Which is why support groups exist for most every difficult endeavor in life including dieting, exercise, addictions, grief or most any other group you can name that is facing difficult circumstances.

But, interestingly, we don’t have a support group for Christians.  Maybe, that’s because we are supposed to be strong, and unmovable, and always on top.  Who’s kidding who?  If anything, Christians carry extra burdens, not fewer.  Well, Christians do have a support group – it’s called the local church.  But, in order for things to operate the way Christ designed it, we must support each other in our group.  Which means there is no room for envy, jealousy, power struggles, anger, backbiting, nit-picking, griping, complaining, etc…

But, of all the groups one came name, there is often more discord and dissension in church groups than in any other.  We may need to rethink our position and role, and what our job should be.  Are things better because we are there, or are they worse?  Are people welcome when they visit, or do they think, “I’m not sure I want to go there, because it appears they have more problems than I have.”

Because we are all in the same boat, and going through this together, we need to draw comfort, strength, and wisdom from those who have gone before.

As I think about this, I remember my father who died of cancer in 1982.  He faced death the same way he faced life, with determination, commitment, and a willingness to help as many as he could.  I attended a conference held by a large public corporation.  During this meeting the moderator asked an ‘ice breaker’ question to those gathered.  “What would you do differently if you found out you only had a year to live.”  As they went around the room, I couldn’t help remembering my father, and how when facing death, he continued to do the very same things he always did.  As my turn came I said, “I would like to think I’ve lived my life in way that nothing would change.”  I had every eye in the house, as it went silent.  Of course, none of us really know what we would do in such a situation, but I bring it up to make a point.  Because we are all in the same boat we can draw strength and encouragement from each other.  Encouragement to go one more day, walk one more mile, for one day we will graduate from this bootcamp we are in.

One Response to “It Helps to Be in the Same Boat”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    I loved your answer to your question! I would like tothink I could say the same thing. Sure made me stop and ponder! Blessings…..

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