15 May 2012
When the good Lord created a Submariner, it was almost 2300 on the sixth day. An angel appeared and said, "You're having a lot of trouble with this one. What's wrong with the standard model?"
And the Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? It has to be able to think independently, yet be able to take orders; have the qualities of both a scientific mind and a compassionate heart; be able to mentor juniors and learn from seniors; run on black coffee; handle emergencies without a Damage Control Manual, respond competently to critical incidents, decipher cryptographic codes, understand pneumatics, hydraulics and sonar, have the patience of a saint and six pairs of hands, not to mention the strength of three its size."
The angel shook its head slowly and said, "Six pairs of hands - - No way!"
And the Lord answered, "Don't worry, we'll make other Submariners to help. Besides it's not the hands which are causing the problem. It's the heart. It must swell with pride when a Shipmate earns his Silver Dolphins - which above all else signifies the crew members trust it with their lives, sustain the incredible hardship of life at sea in a steel tube, beat on soundly when it's too tired to do so, and be strong enough to continue to carry on when it's given all it had."
"Lord," said the angel touching the Lord's sleeve gently, "Stop! It's almost midnight!"
"I can't," said the Lord. "I'm so close to creating something unique. Already I have one whose hands blend knowledge with skill to perform the most intricate procedures, yet are strong enough to patch a ruptured seawater pipe; whose ears can discern the sonar sounds of a myriad of ocean life, yet detect the slightest shift in ventilation; whose mind can practice the science of nuclear submarining, yet not lose sight of the art of teamwork; and whose eyes can peer through a periscope to identify a hull down ship, yet search within to embrace and personify honor, courage and commitment."
The angel circled the model of the Submariner very slowly. "It's too serious," the angel sighed.
"But tough," said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this Submariner can do or endure."
"Can it feel?" asked the angel.
"Can it feel! It loves Ship, Shipmates and Country like no other!"
Finally the angel bent over and ran a finger across the Submariner's cheek. "There's a leak," pronounced the angel. "I told you you're trying to put too much into this model."
"That's not a leak," said the Lord. "It's a tear."
"What's it for?" asked the angel.
"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, frustration and pride!"
"You're a genius!" exclaimed the angel.
The Lord looked pleased and replied, "I didn't put it there."
Filled with pride, the Lord continued, "Great things are planned for this Submariner. It will be one of many and together they will lead a legacy of excellence like none has known before."
And with that the Lord rested. It was the seventh day.
CAPT Jane F. Vieira
Chaplain Corps, United States Navy