The roar of the engine awoke a lucid sea. She was a sight to see at 68 feet. Crew member Benny had christened her with a helping of fresh water and she glistened beneath the rays of sun. She came alive, responding to the wind with a quiet strength. Captain Richard at the helm stood proud. His steel blue eyes alert and ready to take charge of the vessel and depart from the dock. “All aboard” first mate Della yells, as she gracefully leaps onto deck. Captain Richard searches… he listens and feels the wind shift instantly, as if the wind was a reflection of his own breathe. The wind was strong and made its presence known. Strategically adjusting the helm captain Richard brings her majesty starboard and backs out with conviction, all within a matter of seconds. His response is similar to that of a tiger who leaps with passion. As his vessel backs out of the slip the water cradles it with care, neither side of the boat touching the concrete docks… not a scratch, all net.
First mate Della takes charge and ties the dinghy off a shackle on the davits. The dinghy trails behind the Midnight Sun like a baby manatee traveling with its mother. As we approach the pier, heading on our journey, two men stand fishing. We wave. “Beautiful vessel” the one man genuinely says with a smile. “How’s the fishing?” we reply. The man does not answer our question but instead says, “I know you, that’s Richard Jorgensen. I know Richard Jorgensen.”
The man’s face lit up with appreciation. It seemed as the though the warmth of the sun now came from the man’s heart. First mate Della asked “where does he know you?” to which the man replied, “Alpha Project!” A part of Captain Richard’s soul was touched. He remembered that time of his life well. Working honestly and selflessly with the homeless; helping to teach and guide them. Pure in his intentions to create opportunity and provide tools for emotional sobriety. Helping to turn the dreams of men into realities that can be achieved.
And here, 25 years later, a life forever touched…it mattered to that starfish. The man’s name was Gary and his smile noted the gift he had received so many years ago – a gift he valued so much so that it fueled the fire in his belly. The memories that flooded the minds of both Captain Richard and Gary were reflected in the surface of the sea; as the memories surfaced, so did the jellyfish.
The value in those memories propelled Captain Richard to change direction and head back towards the fishing pier where Gary stood, which he had now passed. “Get me a business card” captain Richard said with excitement to Kerri, a dedicated crewmember. Just like an assembly line, Kerri handed the card to Della, who made her way onto the top deck. Gary, surprised that Richard had returned, anxiously engaged. The present moment now had nothing to do with fishing but everything to do with fishing; for Captain Richard had not given him a fish to feed him for a day, but had taught him how to fish which has fed him for a lifetime. The reconnection of two spirits took presence, as if a Broadway play stage went dark with only a spotlight. As any good weathered captain, Richard maintained focus on his vessel and all his surroundings as First mate Della became the bridge of communication.
This was more than an event; more than an acquaintance. For the Alpha Project was not about the project itself, as it was more about the men… the souls of people searching for truth. It was about friendship. It was about joining with these men and doing something together—experiencing life together—experiencing challenges and triumphs. The beautiful bond between men, an unspoken language transcribed through time.
“Still sober?” captain Richard yelled inquisitively from the pilot house” with a voice so robust it could rival a bass guitar. Honest about his challenges Gary waved his arm side to side, as to express the roller-coaster he has been only the past years, but with a smile replied with “I’m off the hard stuff at least… getting there.” Like a prod lion Captain Richard pointed to himself and yelled “28 years.” Gary smiled and pointed back at Richard “That’s great man.” Captain Richard’s pride in his own sobriety was not an egotistical pat on the back….. rather a call of the wild… a statement of certainty to the universe that sobriety is possible, it is real.
A sense of hope rippled through the water. Surprised that Captain Richard had returned to the fishing pier to connect with him, Gary was quietly overcome with a feeling of value, appreciation and love. He mattered, he was worth coming back for.
Captain Richard was a man of consistency. He taught the principles and models and lived them. He was the same man 25 years ago as he is today – a man of honestly, selflessness, pure intention, a man with deep integrity, a man who lives in reality, a man who values life and everything in it.
Because of the exchange and the experiences of past, Gary’s perception was one of equality with Captain Richard. Two equal men, no one better or less than the other. Because of the perception of equality Gary possessed, he had an attitude of being open to reconnecting with Richard as he took down Captain Richard’s phone number. Gary’s thinking was based on trust not fear, and his feelings were of safety not uncertainty. To this, his behavior was clear: “I’ll call you in an hour or two” Gary yelled as the vessel started to travel once more past the fishing pier.
The sun spread its light over the bow of the Midnight Sun, as if it were rolling out a red carpet for its travels.
An inspired captain took hold of his helm. He had in fact made a difference in the world. His difference stood on a pier, alive, fishing.
And an inspired man took hold of his reel and cast off. He had in fact been looking to catch something that day…he was in search of feeling that tug on the other end, a connection.
The crew of the Midnight Sun went about their normal duties, adjusting lines, coiling hoses and securing electrical. But something had changed. A deep sense of love filled the vessel. The depth and breadth of attention respect and appreciation was what the crew inhaled with the smell of salt air, and value was what they exhaled. They experienced a magical moment together. They experienced life. For it was not an event that was to come and go like a passing rainstorm, but the continuum of life… the seasons that ebb and flow and remind us that we are all connected and in the flow of something far greater then ourselves.
She was a sight to see at 68 feet…. And she carried her forever-changed crew with a pride that spoke to the depth of the ocean floor. It was a good day. A simple day.
Possibilities for Consideration
Take a moment and examine…
- As you reviewed the material above, what stood out to you?
- What is the potential impact, economically and/or socially?
- What action is needed to stop or support this idea?
- You may want to consider whether you:
- want to be aware of,
- should become supportive of,
- would want to be active in this topic?
Add Your Insight
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Being willing is not enough; we must do.
LEONARDO DA VINCI