Faith, Hope, Love: A Trinity

Lake Michigan, July, 2016

Faith. Hope. Love.

Sometimes, when I think of Faith, Hope, and Love, I dream of someone crossing the Atlantic on a wooden ship with a great mast, and great cloth draped and tied to catch the wind. 

Thousands of ships have made the journey over times gone by. Every ship bringing with it hopes and dreams of something better, something more.

Each ship is filled with a soul, searching for a better life, always looking ahead through a pirate’s spyglass of lies, always seeing the unattainable horizon just beyond the distance. 

They take the journey of a lifetime, searching for the paradise that doesn’t exist but has existed always, the myth of how life should be, must be, can’t be, but always has been.

Faith. Hope. Love.

Whenever I see these three together, I see the Trinity come to life in the world. This is the Trinity on the ground, in the presence of the people, taking names and loving them; loving the people attached to those names as if they meant the world because they do. 

This Miraculous Three, this Trinity, calls to me, desperate for me to notice their presence, ready to guide me as I search for and desire to know more intimately the Mysterious More—the reason to continue, the experiential reality of the un-nameable who is omni-nameable, the summing up of why anything matters at all, the one than which none greater can be conceived. 

This is my response to their calling my name.

“Faith, Hope, and Love: I welcome you. Do what you will with me.”

Faith.

A ship only moves if it has a well-made sail. One fashioned together with material cut to withstand the storms and the sun, each one beating down hard upon the deck in its own time and turn and in its own way. 

There could be water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. But a sail must stay ready, sturdy, willing to adjust to the new direction of winds never seen before. It will be (it must be) handled and moved and battered and untied and retied, but it must remain sturdy. It will be tested. Again. And again. And again.

Hope.

What makes a ship sail across the seas? A fleet of strangers sailing alone, following a star to a land where life is free from pain. A land never before seen, only dreamt of. A sail is but cloth. Nothing more. A sail is not dreams, it is a sail. 

Wind is the hero. Without wind, nothing moves. There is no peace, no understanding, no dialogue; there’s just no talking to anyone about anything without wind. The wind is a promise kept to the sail. 

“Just be in place and be ready,” the sail is told. “You are imperative! Without you, the wind blows uselessly. But, because you are both flexible and steadfast, the wind will propel the journey!” 

Our journey on the great sea.

Lake Michigan, July 2016

Love.

The sea itself. 

A boat travels because of the sturdy and flexible sail, propelled all along by the wind. But, the entire journey was, is, and will always be on the ocean water, the only place a ship can be when it crosses the uncrossable sea.

The endless water, the unfathomable fathoms, greater than any human understanding. 

The ocean water is that on which the ship travels. The only reason for a ship to exist is to journey on the water. 

Without Love, there is no journey. 

There is only that feeling of always wanting to go somewhere but not knowing where to go, exactly, or how to get there. There is only wandering. Until we see the sea, there is only lost.

There are stories that have forever been told of sailors who can’t stay on land for very long. They must get back to the sea, to the journey. On the water is where they feel most alive, most connected.

Love is the unfathomable ocean on which we all journey. We all traverse the endless ocean together, though it might so very often seem as though we are all alone, in our  own private wooden ships.

You do not travel alone. We are all on the endless ocean together. Some so much more experienced and even  more comfortable than others, but we are all traveling together. Each of our experiences are unique, but the journey is the very thing we all share.

Love never leaves. It is the very substance of our journey, the very foundation of our  lives at sea.  Love is the endless water on which I journey through this life of mine, this life of ours.

If you feel you are sinking, tie your ship to mine, and let’s travel side by side together. 

Let’s find more lost ships and offer to have them tie their sometimes broken vessels to ours. Let’s take the journey together, as we’re meant to do. 

Faith. Hope. Love.

The greatest of these is Love.

Author: Scott Langdon

Scott Langdon is an actor and writer living just outside of Philadelphia in Bristol, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sarah, and their dog, Watson. Before the Time of Covid, he could be seen on stages throughout the professional Philadelphia theater community or writing in a local Starbucks, where the only way they could get rid of him was to tell him there was a pandemic. He has a hard time knowing when he's not wanted.

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