Eric Sisler
Mom, circa 1945
Death is just another path, one that we must all take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise. —J.R.R. Tolkein

Dear Mom,

On this Mother's Day, I wanted to thank you for teaching me to sail.

Yes, that's an odd start to my note, because as far as I know, you never actually set foot in a boat. The sailing I'm talking about has nothing to do with sails or masts, hulls or keels. It does, however, have everything to do with a journey.

A long time ago, a man named Nephi, a traveler in a vast desert, found himself standing at the edge of an ocean wondering what in the world he had gotten himself into. I've often thought that to be a fitting metaphor for us beginning our journey on this earth. We stand on the edge of an unfamiliar sea wondering what we've gotten ourselves into, and wondering, "How on earth am I going to cross this ocean without being swallowed up by the waves?"

When Nephi built his ship, the Lord showed him how to work the timbers. He knew that if he built that ship "after the manner of men" that it would never survive the gales that lurked beyond the horizon. The Lord also gave Nephi the means to successfully navigate the deep with what was probably the coolest gadget ever — the Liahona. Seems even Nephi loved his gadgets.

When I arrived on this earth you pointed me to The Source of knowledge that would teach me how to build my ship. You knew that if I built my ship after the manner of men, I would be lost at sea. It took you years to try and get this message through to me (through no fault of yours), but you didn't give up. At long last, the message hit home. I built my ship, took my Liahona, and made for the open sea.

The seas have been rough at times, and there have been times when I was ready to abandon all hope and be lost. If you hadn't shown me where to find the blueprints for the ship and taught me to navigate, I wouldn't have made it this far in my journey. You taught me that sometimes God calms the seas, and sometimes God calms the sailor. I find that most times, it's the latter.

I now have even more hope of a safe arrival on those distant shores, because I know you are there. I have the same tools you used because you made sure of it.

I've rambled on long enough, so I'll wrap up with a quote from one of my favorite authors — J.R.R. Tolkien.

"Death is just another path, one that we must all take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise."

Mom, keep an eye to the horizon. I hope to make port on those white shores one day where I will drop anchor for the last time.

That is a sunrise I look forward to watching together.

Eric Sisler is a blogger and technology enthusiast. He blogs at sislersblogabouteverything.blogspot.com about information on open source projects, cloud computing and other nifty topics.