The sea teems with life, movement and change. What better place to celebrate the fourth of July?
This year we joined some friends on their new boat to watch fireworks from a barge. We arrived several hours early. The kids whiled away the time jumping off the deck again and again.
Our friends informed us that they’d recently lost their anchor. They’d extended it in deep waters until, plunk, the anchor sank to the bottom with the rope end trailing behind. The previous owners had untied it for some reason that none of us could fathom.
So we drifted. It wasn’t a problem, really. If we floated too close to shore, the barge, or other boats, we simply motored back. As dusk fell, patriotic music sounded across the water. Lights exploded in the sky, followed closely by shuddering booms. Streamers blazed overhead, dripping flames as they slowly descended, held aloft by mini parachutes.
Our kids ran back and forth along the deck to find the best vantage point as our boat shifted in the gentle waves. The booms grew louder, the fireworks bigger until we looked around and saw that we were far beyond the ring of other boats watching the display. We’d drifted into the no-man zone without even realizing it.
Our friend started the engines while a police boat zoomed toward us, emergency lights flashing. But one of our engines was dead. We explained to the police who warned us away. So we motored backward in a sort of circle, our progress painfully slow.
Meanwhile, flames rained down from the sky, much nearer than was exactly comfortable. What had started as a thrilling display was now a source of fear, anxiety, and danger. We powered down the lights on the boat, restarted the generator, and finally managed to get the last engine going. Our friend piloted us to a safe distance where we enjoyed the rest of the show.
But it got me thinking. When we lose our anchors, we drift wherever the sea takes us. There’s no purpose, no direction, nothing to cling to amid turbulent times or in a chaotic world.
Today I celebrate the values this country was founded on, the anchors that keep us safe and strong, unless we lose them: faith in God, hard work, compassion, opportunity, liberty.