Mooring – 1- an act of making fast a boat or aircraft with lines or anchors 2- a place where or an object to which a craft can be made fast; a chain, line, or other device by which an object is secured in place 3- moral or spiritual resources.
We’ve all seen a boat adrift, either on a lake, a river, or the ocean. We’ve at least heard stories of such or seen them on the news. Have you ever been in such a situation? Can you imagine how unsettling it would be? There would likely be feelings of panic and helplessness, irregular thought processes (can’t think straight), wondering what to do, and when and where is help. A niece-in-law and I were fishing with other family members on a reservoir and we were too far from shore and couldn’t re-start the motor. We were drifting. Our other family members on shore could see that we were having trouble, but couldn’t reach us. They were yelling suggestions to us and at least were there for moral support. Things could have been much worse, but I was scared, insecure and NERVOUS. (We were finally able to start the motor.) Imagine being on swift moving water, or a very deep and vast body of water, with no relief in sight.
There is a real-life reason why aviators and ship captains CAREFULLY secure their craft against all eventualities. There’s a reason that aviators and ship captains follow definite protocol when flying or boating/sailing.
The same rules apply in life. We need anchors and moorings and a compass. We need philosophies and values and traditions that truly provide guidance and security to navigate life. I have mentioned before that I spent many months in Africa. I noticed there what many would call “the false traditions of the fathers”: dishonesty, polygamy, child and spouse abuse, greed, tribal hostilities, wars, etc. I could see where all that had led – to a sorry state of affairs.
We, as humans, do much better, and in fact, thrive, when there are certain factors in place in an individual’s life: honesty, kindness, strong work ethic, education, forgiveness, patience, helpfulness, cheerfulness, loyalty, unselfishness etc., Not only is this necessary in the individual’s life, but also when the individual is surrounded by others with these qualities. And to take it one step further, a society thrives when most people have these qualities.
Are you asking yourself at this point: “therefore, what?” Many of us have learned the hard way what a lack of patience, forgiveness, kindness, and unselfishness bring to us through our actions, or as the result of others’ actions. It can cause insecurity, fear, anxiety, sorrow, pain, depression and loss. There is a by- product of having the above positive attributes, and that is something that is seldom pointed out – PEACE.
Peace allows us to sleep well, have a clear conscience, have meaningful relationships with family and friends, and enables us to be more effective and productive in our daily endeavors. Peace fosters health, energy, and enthusiasm for life. I am not saying that all problems disappear when we have moorings, but at least we’re not making things worse and we have clear thinking to the point that we can deal with life.
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal reported on the scholastic superiority of ethnic Asians at the University of California at Berkeley. Speaking of the extraordinary accomplishments of these people:
“The most important factor in the rise of this new American elite is the intense and devoted family relationships that typify the Asian home. … They include respect for elders and high standards for children, including hard work at school and off-hours responsibilities that many times still include chores at a relative’s business” (“The Asians at Berkeley,” 30 May 1995, p. A14).
Family is indeed the best place to learn the qualities of a life with moorings. There are times when I think to myself “if (my husband) acts this way one more time, I’m DONE.” I was reading through some articles last week, and read one by a marriage counselor. He stated that the best marriages involve a husband and wife who are very good at FORGIVING. It was truly a moment of revelation.
How do we begin such a quest? It begins with the individual. You can’t change others before you change yourself. A good example speaks volumes and inspires others to follow.