Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It’s like we’re all on this big ship out in the middle of the ocean. Every one of us. It appears to the young the ship is barely creeping along. For those a little older, it is moving a little faster. And for the oldest, it is moving at an incredible speed. But, oddly enough, the ship is moving

the same speed for everyone.

Certain events remind us we are traveling. Old photographs of both us and our children when we were young. A body that starts to ache a little more.

Old memories that sometimes stir us in our sleep. An old farmer talking about the way things used to be. Hearing an old song

we loved way back then. Funerals and the reflections that go with them.

And all along, the ship is moving steadily along.

Many on the ship do not seem to take notice the ship is moving. Or perhaps they simply choose not to accept it. They rarely look over the side, for the view of waters rushing by can be quite disturbing.

It is often more comforting to pretend the ship is not moving and consume oneself with activities on the ship, for there are many things on board to distract us. There are games and pastimes and pleasures galore. The older tend to play the same games as the young. They just have bigger toys. Some dull their senses so as to numb the sensation of movement.

It is sometimes easier to think one is simply drifting.

And all along, the ship is moving steadily along.

On this boat there are births and marriages and deaths. There are wars and battles and peace. There is joy and laughter and sorrow and tears. There is music and there is silence. There is creation and there is destruction. There are plans and goals and dreams.

There is pain and there is jubilation. There is hunger and fullness, thirst and satisfaction.

And all along, the ship is moving steadily along.

Some travel well, while for others, the whole trip is just one big struggle. Some enjoy, while others simply survive. Oddly enough, those that tend to enjoy the trip are often helping those that don’t.

Perhaps therein is a clue to enjoying the journey. Though there is activity in all directions on the vessel, the ship itself is always going in a particular direction. And even stranger, no one passenger on the ship is steering. It only seems that way sometimes.

But in reality, the ship is being steered by an outside force in the direction He so chooses.

And all along — even as I write this — the ship is moving steadily along. Can you feel it?

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is