I had a strange picture early this morning while I was just waking up. Of course, my community has been constantly on my mind lately. Especially since we are spending this month re-evaluating ourselves. It has been a very rough go since 1997 when we suffered a traumatic split. Finally, we were just able to pay off our mortgage. It has been a kind of victory. However, we have a community full of burned out, wounded, exhausted people. Although it hasn't been all bad, these last twelve years have been excruciating. But there's a sense that this is over and we can perhaps turn things around. So the image I had was of this huge sailing ship just sitting dead in the water. The sails are torn and hanging. The ropes are frayed and broken. Some of the wooden masting is snapped. The paint has been knocked off in places. The ship is in general disrepair. The name of the ship has been scraped off. It is obvious that it has been through a nasty storm. Now it is languishing in the doldrums. The crew is there, even though we've lost some. Our hope is that they will be found and return to the ship. It seems our main task was to keep the ship afloat and not kill each other. We've accomplished that. We've stayed afloat... barely; and we have not killed each other... although we have hurt each other from time to time. I had a sense that there is a breeze coming that we can take advantage of. However, it is our task now to repair the ship and restore order. We need to sew the sails. We need to repair the masts. We need to replace and rewind the ropes. We need to paint the ship. We need to polish the brass. We need to embrace each other as a crew and exclaim, "Wow! We made it! I'm sorry if I hurt you. I didn't mean to. I was scared! I was so focused on my own survival! I really thought we were going down!" I feel somewhat responsible that the ship is in the condition it is in. Sometimes I feel it is my fault that we headed into the storm that we endured. I struggle with that still. And sometimes I feel that I've waited too long to ask people for help, to help people realize that to be a part of this ship and crew means to help and support the entire ship and crew. But I can't live there. I can't abide in that self-questioning, self-doubt and sometimes self-pity. I need to move on for the sake of this crew and this ship! But I need help. I can't do this alone. We've learned lots. We've changed. We're stronger and wiser. Our experience is an asset. But now we need to apply this to the welfare of this ship. Because I feel this ship is a kind of rescue ship for other ones and for the many who are lost at sea. It's time to bring this ship into order and to be what it has been called to be. If you want to purchase my cartoons or other nakedpastor artworks, go HERE. I'm open for requests too!