One of my favorite things to see and places to visit is the pier leading out to the SS Palo Alto. This is a cement ship (one of only three) that was built towards the end of World War 1 and never saw action after being launched in May of 1919. She was mothballed in 1929 and then made into an amusement ship at her current home. This ended up not working out either and several years later was cracked and used primarily as a fishing pier… until that wasn’t safe. Today she lies as a dead hulk at the end of a pier. However, in the midst of this death the SS Palo Alto has become a sanctuary for marine wildlife. A visit to the SS Palo Alto will often reveal pelicans (they are my favorite, there are other birds too) and sea lions that have now found a home there.
As I look at this picture I can’t help but think of the symbolism in this picture. From death comes life. Without the death of this ship, the marine life found on it wouldn’t have this fantastic place to live. Death can be such a hard thing to deal with but invariably, it leads to new life. It’s the theme of countless books, beliefs, and life experiences. It never is easy and often is painful but… new life can come from the broken hulk of the past.
I don’t normally bring too much personal life((I know I don’t generally bring my personal life into DAPs Magic. For this one time though I am going to and I ask that you respect Dr. Schuller and his message of positivity. This isn’t a forum for religious debate or debate about a man that I consider great. Please respect his death and his legacy. Thank you for allowing to me to indulge in a little personal reflection today.)) into the realm of DAPs but today we lost our pastor and friend the Rev. Dr. Robert H. Schuller. Coming from a family of pastors, Dr. Schuller was legendary in our house…. particular with my Grandpa who I received my name from. When I finally moved to California, I visited the Crystal Cathedral and heard him preach on a Christmas Eve. It was like hearing my grandpa speak all over again. As time went by I ended up volunteering there and seeing Dr. Schuller on a fairly regular basis. He always made a comment about liking whatever bow tie I happened to be wearing on any given Sunday as we stood backstage before the first service began. Privately, I kind of thought that he was amused by this crazy young guy who showed up every Sunday in crazy bow ties but who knows. Whatever he thought, I did get the opportunity to learn and experience that when Dr. Schuller said “God loves you and so do I,” he really meant it.
The death of Dr. Schuller will be felt globally. People might not have connected with the theology of his message, but they could connect with his message of positivity and “possibility thinking” that came with it. I’m not going to get preachy in this post but this is a message of positivity that has always resonated with me and one I have tried to carry on in my life… some days better than others.
And so as I reflect on the passing of one of the most positive men I’ve ever met, I come back to the SS Palo Alto. From death comes life. I wonder how that will play out. I wonder what new and beautiful things will grow in the future. But for the present, I only hope those who are grieving can someday find the beauty in his death as I find with the SS Pal Alto.
Make it a GREAT day!
- Mr. DAPs