Currents

Currents Gulf Stream temperatureOCEAN CURRENTS MOVED MY LIFE from an early age. We moved to Pocomoke City, Maryland when I was ten years old. Christmas that year was as warm as an early summer day. Pocomoke is almost exactly halfway between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Chesapeake Bay on the west. The Gulfstream current is a major weather-maker here. Warm water from the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico rides the offshore current all the way up the Eastern Seaboard, crossing the ocean somewhere south of Nova Scotia. The winds carry this warmth onshore, moderating the climate and blending the seasons. But the current slowly turns, meanders, and gyres constantly, moving toward the coast or heading out to sea. A handful of miles one way or the other can mean an inland temperature drop or climb Currents ocean currents2of several degrees.

All the surface currents of the world’s oceans are generated by the constant force of the winds that blow ceaselessly across the face of the planet. These currents reach on average 500 to 1000 feet below the surface. This is considered shallow water.

Currents Gulf Stream RiverThe Gulf Stream, like all surface currents, is a river on its own in the vast sea. Within the stream, warm water moves from the tropics toward the North Atlantic about 3 – 4 miles an hour. Finding yourself in the midst of this river, without landmarks, you could scarcely distinguish your movement from random drifting. Yet you would not be without direction. Given time and sustenance you could ride the current from Florida up the East Coast, cross the North Atlantic, and then find yourself on the west coast of Ireland. I have presently, and periodically in the past, found myself in a place in life that seems a lot like this. Seemingly drifting, having lost sight of the shore of my previous landfall, with no landmarks in sight, but with the expectation, if not the feeling, that I am making headway toward some distant coast or island. I find this both exhilarating and disconcerting. Moving through empty ocean toward some unseen horizon.

“PROVIDENCE IS A DOCTRINE BEST UNDERSTOOD IN RETROSPECT”, my doctoral supervisor in seminary once told me. I often deliberate to excess about every decision I make and every action I take, but I did not arrive where I am in life solely by careful deliberation. Time and chance happen to every man (Ecclesiastes 9:11), and, might I add, current and drift. This or that journey was chosen, and I made careful plans. But nothing is ever simply a matter of human decision and will. I do not believe in fate, yet our destiny is not shaped by our hands alone. Life is a gathering of responses to invitations. Whether we will go and what we bring is up to us. Why do we end up where we end up? Adventure and accident. Sail forth and things happen. The tide and the winds take us where they will. An awareness of current and a sense of direction may accompany us, yet we may only know the meaning of the journey when we reach our destination.

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About Michael W Nicholson

I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, father, and grandfather, a brother and a friend. My professional career has been in education. I taught Industrial Arts in Middle School for six years, four years as an adjunct professor in theology and philosophy, and fifteen years teaching classes in Old Testament, Apologetics, and Worldviews in a Christian High School. Like everyone else who breathes in American culture, I am infected with chronic postmodernity, but I am aware of this and regularly administer the treatment: Historic Christian Orthodoxy as contained in the Scriptures of the Old & New Testaments. I am fascinated by almost every subject imaginable, except economics. I have a Ph.D. in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I believe in a God who wants to be found; who leaves signs and suggestions, trademarks, signatures, and signposts scattered throughout every aspect of our existence. And if we are truly looking, He will find us. God is the great Story-teller, and the story he is telling is the great drama of Reality, unfolding before us and of which we are all inescapably a part. And so I am collecting fragments, in Philosophy, in Science, and in Art and holding these fragments up to the light and turning them this way and that, and trying to see and say how the Story—the metanarrative, the Christian Worldview—is involved in, and makes sense of, every aspect of our being-in-the-world (to borrow a term from Heidegger and take it where perhaps he did not intend for it to go). And by doing this I hope I am helping to light the way Home; back to the sea, the ocean, the Ocean of Infinite Love. My blog covers a wide range of topics around this central theme that the transcendent realm surrounds and permeates our existence. I put up new posts periodically. I hope you enjoy them. I hope they help.
This entry was posted in Narrative Theology, Nature, Personal Narrative, Science and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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