For Those to Whom Adversity has Dealt the Final Blow

The Mary Ellen Carter

Whenever hope seems lost – never give up. Rise again! This is the message of a favorite folk song (which I have linked below).

Maritime Canada has a long seafaring tradition, which is reflected in its music. Stan Rogers’ “The Mary Ellen Carter” is an inspirational ballad about a ship which sank in stormy seas. For the owners, she was just an insurance claim; but for her devoted crew, those who knew her best, she was a beloved companion to be rescued from the ocean floor. Newly unemployed, they combine their strength, their skill and their resources to raise the Mary Ellen Carter from the deep.

No one experiences hardship more than those who go down to the sea in ships. In the video introduction, a sailor describes his ordeal in the cold North Atlantic when a fierce storm sends his ship to the bottom. Floating in the freezing water, waves crashing on his head, ready to expire, he finds the strength to sing himself back to life with the lyrics of “The Mary Ellen Carter”; and for him, this was the difference between life and death

The song is a message of hope for all those to whom adversity has dealt the final blow.

 No matter what you’ve lost be it home or love or friend like the Mary Ellen Carter rise again!

Christians can understand the mythic significance of rising from a watery grave in the baptism ritual and in the story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  When all hope seems lost, rescue is at hand. In an ancient Egyptian myth, Osiris, a murdered king, is brought back to life and restored to his throne; and likewise, those heroes of a thousand faces from diverse cultures –  suffer a descent into the underworld, followed by a miraculous restoration.

Mythology contains profound truths to sustain us in life. Novels, music, poetry and works of art which tap into these universal motifs have a special and enduring significance because there is a recognition from deep within our subconscious mind.

(C) Adrian Charles Smith 2021


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