Wednesday, August 1, 2007


A member of our crew drowned on Sunday afternoon. His name was Collin. He was 21. He was my neighbor. His cabin was on the right. Sometimes at night I heard him and his bunkmate laughing through the walls. Once I interrupted a guitar session to ask a dumb question. He didn’t seem bothered.

I didn’t really now him very well. He had just graduated from Texas A & M with a pre-med degree. He was Texan. He was only staying short term. We arrived the same week and were a part of the same new crew orientation.

Living in a small community you kind of know everyone. At least a little. At least a smile or hello in the hallway.

On Sunday morning I thought we would be unable to transport one of my patients to the ward church service down the hall. So I frantically started searching for a gourd shaker so I could sing songs with my bedbound patient. En route to my room I bumped into Collin and his roommate Rob. They were dressed in beach clothes. I asked Collin a question.

“Do you guys have an gourd shaker I can borrow?”

“No, I’m sorry, we don’t have one.”

Then we both went our way.

Two hours later while I was eating lunch on the port, I heard the emergency medical team paged on the overhead paging system. I went to reception and found a flurry of moving medical professionals. Apparently there was a near drowning of a crew member at a local beach. They were performing CPR.

My stomach became completely raw. My heart hit the floor.

Two hours later the captain asked on the overhead that everyone would come to the international lounge. We then learned that Collin had died.

Last week I wrote a blog called Burn out Bright. I think it’s so appropriate to Collins situation.
He Burned out Bright.

There is a lyric in the song that has hit me this week

If we only got one life
If we’ve only got one try
If time was never on our side
Before I die I want to burn our bright

Time is never on our side. When we hold time up to the light of eternity is becomes transparent. We can’t hold onto it. Even if we lived to 80 or 90 years, it’s a only a vapor.

John 17:3 says
And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.

Collin is knowing Christ fully right now. His mind is fixed on the only reality the universe contains.

I have found that so challenging this week. Do I really believe that Christ is eternal life and that this eternal thread can be experienced here on earth? The implications are deep, dividing that which is soulish and that which is spiritual.
But when I die, I’d like to burn out bright too. I’d like to follow Collins example.

Please pray for his family as I cannot imagine the pain they are going though. His service will be on Friday. Also, please pray for our crew members who were with him at the beach. They are traveling to Texas to attend the service. Please pray for their emotional healing and safe travels.


Anonymous said...

my heart goes out to you and your crew mates on the loss of a member of your team...such a sad note to read after all the positive i have read-keep the faith

patti rn in lehigh county pa

Anonymous said...

i'll be praying for them meg. and for you too.

Anonymous said...

Collin was my precious son. This is my first response to anyone on the ship. We wake up each morning with the reality that he won't be coming home. He was the most wonderful son a mother could ask for. Please continue your prayers. We are broken.

megan petock said...

I cannot imagine your pain. We at Mercy Ships continue to lift you family up in prayer. I am so sorry for your loss. megan