Peace, we pray….

by George Pletnikoff

July 5, 2007

Old Harbor - Photo Yohena RayaThe day began just about the same as anyother day so far. I woke up early and saw perhaps  one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen, and I have been blessed to see many. As soon as I saw that, I immediately took pictures, uploaded them to my computer and shared one with my Tai yox. It had to be done. And as I learn how to use this blog stuff more, I hope to share some of those pictures with you. In the mean time, I hope you can envision in your minds eye beauty, and here, beyond words. It reminded me of the passage in the Bible, the Gospel of St. John. "The Light came into the darkness, and the darkness understood it not." And thus our day began.

As we were coming ashore, anticipations of the day was the chatter aboard our little rib, our inflatable boat we use to travel between the ship and the villages. Some villages do not have a large enough dock, nor is the water deep enough to handle our ship. Although this dock in Old Harbor seems like it can handle our ship, caution is taken, and with good measure. And so we ride our rib. The crew and I yell to be heard over the noise of the engine, excited and full of anticipation. What are we going to see and do, afterall, today is a special day in our country. Today is Independence Day, the 4th of July. And we are in Old Harbor, Kodiak Alaska. Old Harbor by any standards is a small community of about 200 people. What could happen here in such a small out of the way place that could even rival a celebration in other larger more cosmopolitan communities. Little did we know.

Immediately upon arrival we headed straight to the Three Saints Orthodox Church. We were told the day before that the day would begin with prayer. Prayer for peace and prayer for the blessing of the small fleet of commercial salmon fishing vessels, preparing for the upcoming salmon season. As we were walking down the dusty street of our host village, I reflected upon something which brought much comfort and understanding about things in life for me. Someone in our group commented that it is good to take "time out" of our busy schedule to pray. I thought, yeah, that is good. Then my thoughts wandered. It seems we are as a society always concerned about time. Time for this, time for that. We are so accustomed to filling in time with activity, rushing here and there, hurrying. We are taking "time out" of our busy lives to pray. Hummm…to me its like, we are taking "time out" of our prayer lives to work. That to me seems like how we should approach our lives, daily and weekly, monthly and yearly. For prayer allows us to see clearly how well we live and work.As we celebrated and prayed in the Church, the Priest mentioned in his litany that the Lord also blesses the crew and our ship the Esperanza. And this is again where I found thankfulness, that yes, we are being cared for. People care about us, and here in Three Saints Orthodox Church on the 4th of July, in Old Harbor, the love blossomed! "For the crew of the Esperanza, we ask for safe journey, good works and a safe passage back home!" And the people responded in unison, "Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy." And we stood in silent reflection with peace. We are not taking "time out" from our busy work schedule to pray, but rather, as we seek questions and hard to come by answers to the problems every village up to now are facing, as we listen and teach, answer questions and see, we are taking "time out" from our prayer to work. For that prayer for our journey follows us every moment, from now until…..

And we met with the current and former Chiefs of the Tribe. Where? On the door steps of the Three Saints Orthodox Church. We interviewed, listened and asked questions. We are engaged in the same mission, asking our leaders of our Country to listen, to pray with us, and to help protect us. Protect our food, our way of life, and share mutual respect. Please, do not allow anyone to hurt us any longer. Peace is, well, sorely needed. The dark clouds of pain have weighed heavily upon our villages for so long, sometimes it seems just a way of life. And you know, and I know, that is not true, nor must we accept it as normal. Whats normal is health, and good health, physical and spiritual, emotional and environmental. Thats normal. And we chase normal with thrist. We pray for peace, for the world, but maybe, more so for ourselves. To seek always to do good, practice good and teach good. Unless we combine efforts without egos, doing such work prayerfully, we may find that the dark cloud hovers oh so dangerously over our planet we call Earth. In peace, let us pray…..Until next time. George  

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