Jonathan's note: Although I am a man of faith, I have the utmost respect for those who do not share my beliefs. I share this deeply personal poem, which I wrote years ago in a time of turmoil, in the hope that it will bring spiritual relief to those looking for such.
“All Hands on Deck”
By Jonathan Decker
The world's a storming, tumultuous sea With multitudes drowning, struggling, lost So the Captain's crew fights valiantly To bring all aboard no matter what the cost
His ship provides a place to rest Clean warm clothes, a nice hot meal A place one can become one's best A place where one's wounds fully heal
“All hands on deck!” echoes the command Tired sailors comply without a groan For one of the Captain's few demands Is that none be left to drown alone
One of their own has lost his grip And fallen into the murky deep He desperately cries out for the ship And the Captain begins to weep
He stops the ship, but does not turn it round …
“Captain, shall we not turn back? Our friend is out there in the black! Instead of commanding, now you weep While a sailor sinks in the deep!”
Looking in the Captain's eyes This crewman sees his own mistake For he should never have surmised His leader could leave any in the wake
“He knows to swim, I've taught him well Shine forth the lights and ring the bell Make sure he knows right where we are Drop the anchor so we won’t go far
“Our course is set, our path is strait For that one we will simply wait. I'll not risk any diving in And drowning in the waves of sin
“Throw him a line, show that you care That swimming back, he not despair Give him a pull, give him a cheer Let him know we are still here
“And we want him back on board …
“I bought this boat, I paid the price Believe me, 'twas no small sacrifice To help you all get back to Land So another of my few demands
Is that each do his own part …”
The desperate sailor, tossed by the sea Midst crashing waves and churning foam Grabs hold the lifeline, swims desperately Towards the ship that'll bring him Home
Although his crewmates cheer his swim And he fights valiantly to stay afloat It's the Captain's hand that brings him in And pulls him safely aboard the boat.
“Lord, before you've calmed the storming sea I wondered why you would not for me Instead I swam and fought and cried I nearly drowned, I nearly died
“But then I saw you'd stopped the ship You'd not abandon me, though I'd slipped And when you didn't turn back, I knew That I couldn't leave it solely up to you
“Twas' your blood, your tears and sweat That obtained this vessel and cleared my debt Your laws keep me safe and afloat Your grace grants me passage on the boat
“Your ship would carry me back to Land But you wanted me to understand That falling off, one pays a price And now I surely must think twice
When tempted to walk the edge again …”
Safely aboard, though cold and wet His friends help him get warm and dry And he scarcely gets a moment's rest Before happily answering the Captain's cry:
“All hands on deck!
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.