Ready to launch
What a great weekend. Last week, blog reader Pam Benjamin of Sense of Wonder invited us down to the launch of the 50' schooner Charlotte on Martha's Vineyard, the island alongside of Nantucket just south of Cape Cod.
I've lived in the Boston area for a total of about 15 years at different periods of my life, but I'd never been to the Vineyard. So, I thought I'd be spontaneous and go. At first I was going to go alone, then some random circumstances (always a risk with teenagers) made me realize it would be better to bring my son along. And then, we didn't have a place to stow the dog, so lo and behold, little Max came, too. On the ferry and everything. I can't believe I've turned into a person who travels with a dog.
Charlotte was designed and built by Pam's husband Nat of Gannon & Benjamin. It's a gorgeous piece of work, all wood, lovingly constructed, gracious, sound. The ceremony this weekend, attended by roughly two hundred supporters on the Vineyard, marked the occasion of the hull's first run into the water. Christened after Nat's grandmother, Charlotte was blessed by acknowledgements, prayer, song, and the sprinkling of water from all around the island by a host of the Benjamin grandchildren before dipping gracefully into the harbor and traveling under motor around several friendly boats waiting nearby. We all then got to climb aboard in bare feet to investigate above and below deck. Truly thrilling.
I left with a renewed appreciation for the concept of "launch." Significant launches mark our culture in many ways—from births, weddings, graduations to bon voyage parties to barn raisings to spaceships. I know from personal experience as well that when you push the "on" button to a Website, it's known as a launch. We've woven these ceremonies into our lexicon as a way to take a moment after all the preparation is done to bless the results of all our hard work and give the increase to the world.
To me, a successful launch implies that the thing we're launching will take on a life of its own. It's no longer "ours," but has its own identity and purpose. We've done whatever handiwork required to set it up physically, but it's the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects that take over once the deed is done. Before launch, we work to assemble, organize, schedule. After launch, we become mere participants in the larger thing that sprang forth from our efforts.
It's the creation story all over again. God's creation, happening in an instant and for all eternity, is both done and unfolding now. The unfolding sense is our own growing appreciation of it, but creation itself has been complete since conceptualization. God's ideas don't remain theoretical. When He thinks it, it is done.
You and I are that creation, and we reflect the Creator when we conceptualize and realize the new idea. Then, we launch it forth, and delight in all that it can accomplish as it sails to its own destiny.
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