In an early morning call today I was reminded of an Antarctic explorer, Ernst Shackleton. On a major exploration things went horribly wrong. For a variety of reasons, his ship ended up trapped in the ice with no hope of a rescue. Shackleton never gave up. He changed his mission, setting a new one that centered on saving every life under his command. Despite all odds, the crew achieved the goal.
It is hard to imagine just how difficult the challenge was. The approaching winter, the shortage of food and supplies, and the extreme cold were just the beginning. Hope and confidence would be illusive company for each member of the crew. As circumstances developed, the loss of the ship to crushing ice, the challenge of getting the small lifeboats to open water, and the difficulty in finding food, everyone had their doubts. The one pillar was Shackleton himself. Regardless of his fears, he stayed focused. In spite of his doubts, his resolve never waivered. He was on a mission.
In context of Shackleton, you and I have it easy. Life can be difficult. Often it is painful and uncertain. During these times it is easy to forget what we do have. I was reminded this morning how “God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. [We should] Never forget that.” (1 Corinthians 1.9)
I was also reminded that we have community. There are others who are with us! Our load is their load; their load is ours. We can encourage each other. We can lift each other up. We can hold each other compassionately accountable.
As today dawns, there is more about life that I do not understand than what I do. It is confusing. The path forward is, at best, dark. I do know I have a mission – to live fully and completely, striving to make a positive difference in this world. It is a calling worthy of God – beginning with this moment.