(Written August 2004)
I settled on the wooden bench on the side of the ferryboat feeling ‘bone weary’ as many of us do at the end of a busy day. Given the late hour, I was surprised by the steady stream of people boarding the ferry – mostly men worn out from their long day of toil.
The ferry rested at the quayside for about ten minutes, as if it too, was drained from it’s repetitive cycle of transporting people back and forth across the Bosphorous Strait; from early morning, through the heat of the day, and into the late evening.
You know that it is getting near time to leave when they shut all but one door from the terminal. There the man stands, ready to seal it shut, and once shut no more can board that sailing – and yet he hesitates, with grace, watching for those running to board the ferry and waiting patiently during their mad dash through the turnstile, across the waiting room and out through the last, narrow gap, mustering up one last burst of energy after an arduous day to make it onto the ferry.
The whistle sounds, the final doors slams shut, no more people will be boarding this ferry and the crew move to release the mooring lines. The ferry, no longer bound to the quay, an unnatural and restricting situation, thrashes the water as if in a hurry to distance itself from being restrained; it turns and surges into the inky black waters of the straight.
Sitting, as I was, on the outside, I leaned against the side of the ferry, throbbing with unseen power and as we moved into the dark waters my eyes were drawn from the ancient skyline of the city to the reflection of the lights in the surprisingly flat and docile waters. The night-time reflections of the lights is unlike a day-time reflection. Often, in daytime, you have an exact representation of the real buildings. At night, it is a pattern of lights, some dim, some bright, some white, some yellow, some differing colours – a pattern made by the original, and yet, unrecognisable as to the structure being reflected.
The wind created by the speed of the ferry through the waters, washes over me – a refreshing touch after a hectic day.
The day actually began on the ferry, heading the other direction, towards the city centre with the airport as my destination. We had been shooting a series of viseo messages on the first three chapters of Genesis and the speaker had to travel to another city; today, this morning he was travelling back and I was going to meet him at the airport and conduct him back home to finish the shoot. We would record four more messages and then he would depart again for Izmir. So, I headed out, with the rush hour crowds to the ferry, changing to the tramway, and then changing to the metro (underground) to the airport.
After meeting him at the airport we travelled back to the flat by the same Metro, tramway and ferry. Once back to the flat, we entered the “studio” – it used to be called the sitting room / dining room but by shifting the furniture here and there, a space was carved out creating a temporary studio-like area. The speaker, after a bowl of muesli which we called ‘lunch’, checked the text on the teleprompter, and we commenced shooting. Everything proceeded well until the last message. There was a glitch and we prepared to re-shoot it, one eye on the clock as we planned to leave at six to make the return trip to the airport – six was the right time to leave to get there on time.
But there was a problem with the text, a couple of lines had been accidentally skipped over in the transcribing. So, a hasty correction and we begin shooting the last message. The clock ticking. The speaker did an excellent job and we finished taping at six. By the time we were ready to leave, it was 6:30 and the race was on.
When we arrived at the ferry terminal, the doors were mostly shut, and the gentleman was providing that last minute ‘grace’ as we flew through the turnstile and ran headlong through the waiting area. We made the ferry!
That was then. And now, the speaker safely delivered to the airport – the metro ride and tramway ride over – and now on the ferry I was half an hour from home. The reflected lights of the city dancing on the waters, a colourful spectacle, captivating to watch, turning the most prosaic of industrial complexes into a fascinating and intriguing pattern of light in the water.
In the same, may the labours of our hands be used of God to become captivating and intriguing programmes with all the “industrial” mechanics of the making of the programme transparent – the programmes edifying the church and being a light to those living in darkness.
in much the same way, in the various activities and endeavours that we as individuals engage in, may they be a beautiful and enticing reflection of the beauty and grace of God.