My sister in law's father Brian died unexpectedly recently while abroad and although he was in his seventies, he was an active man with a busy job. He was a merchant seaman foremost, latterly a Captain then a consultant and ship builder and spent most of his time and life abroad. On the occasions we met he always had a smile, a warm handshake and stories of his time in the far east and the travelling he did between great countries, the people he worked with and the hard life endured by the indigenous populations in the places he worked. Most of all he loved his family, wife, children and grandchildren. He will be missed by those who knew him and who didn't get to see him nearly enough as they wanted because he was a workaholic.
I lost a great uncle on board a trawler in the 1960s off Iceland when it sank with all hands in severe winter storms and although not directly affected then, I was too young, the family were naturally devastated. Sailors and their families are unique.
So here's my personal prayer for sailors and a thought for Brian too.
Dear Lord, your fondest feelings almost certainly are for sailors. They face the greatest of all perils to feed our families and supply us with the necessary things of life and each and every day, a long way from help, they risk all they have for us.
Spare a thought for their families who live with faith but uncertainty, who have love and patience in equal measures but with the knowledge that you will guide their loved ones to safe port once more.
Thank you for the life of those gone before who we celebrate not for their death but for the life they shared with us. Memories are the gift they leave with us and hope that we will meet once more in the place beyond our horizon.
Please Lord receive Brian into your house and begin the healing process to mend the souls of those left behind. There are many who can thank Brian for his expertise and commitment to the real camels of the sea, their design, construction, launch and maintenance. The safety of those who sailed in them was his concern.
Bless each and every sailor on the high seas, on the rivers and oceans of this planet, help them steer a true and safe passage through adversity. Let them witness bright clear dawns and magnificent sunsets on their journey through life with a sure and certain belief that whatever happens they have a greater life to look forward to.