Cleanse me from secret faults

Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

In 1960, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard were lowered to the bottom of the Mariana trench in the Navy bathyscape Trieste, where they were astounded to find life forms happily swimming around. (They resembled flounder, apparently, if anyone cares.) At the bottom of the trench, the water pressure is over a thousand times the pressure at sea level. Had even a hairline crack appeared in the hull of their craft, the two would have been instantly killed.

To date, the men are the only two to dive that far.

Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

I sometimes wonder what the trip was like.

Most deep sea diving takes place in darkness, to conserve energy resources. The two men sat in the cold and darkness for the five hour descent, which must have felt like a life time. What do you talk about when you’re drifting to the bottom of the ocean, miles away from any hope of rescue?

The two barely had time to get to the bottom before their life support systems started to malfunction, and they were forced to return to the surface, again in darkness and cold, through 10,916 metres of water. Three and a half hours through the immense desert of the ocean.

Total isolation.

Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray.

We know more about the sun than we do about the bottom of the ocean. We have better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of the ocean floor. Exploratory vessels are constantly surprised by what they find–new species of fantastic animals that look as though they must be fake. Freakish creatures drifting through the darkness in search of food. In a way, deep sea life seems more alien than anything I could possibly imagine–creatures that share this planet with me are so radically different that I can’t even comprehend it, really.

In some parts of the ocean, the intense pressure, coldness, and anerobic environment combine to preserve things, like bodies and wreckage, perfectly. Or peanut butter sandwiches–during a dive of the Navy submarine Alvin which had to be aborted, one of the scientists left a sandwich aboard which was edible six months later. In others, objects decay at an extremely rapid rate, helped along by deep sea life.

Sometimes I imagine myself sinking slowly to the bottom of the ocean in silence and darkness, with mounting pressure outside.

My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O Lord–how long?


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

I am told that surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Today I stood in the shower for half an hour with the water as hot as I could get it, and while perfectly potable water swirled down the drain around me, I stood motionless and defeated, powerless to turn the tap off, to move out of the stinging water, to do anything other than stand in perfect shuddering darkness.

Sometimes being locked in a metal cylinder for ten hours sounds almost appealing, perfect, and simple. What will happen will happen when you’re that far down. I imagine that any sort of accident would make short work of me and what the water pressure didn’t get the fish would. Or whatever the fuck is down there.

I feel a different sort of pressure weighing on me now, the complex sort that can’t be escaped through surfacing.

I don’t know what I want anymore.

Where are your rod and staff, O Lord? For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?