The Plot To Steal Joy: Day 15

Mare Island, some 27 miles northeast of San Francisco, home to the first and oldest U.S naval base in the Pacific Ocean between 1852 and 1993.

Mare Island, some 27 miles northeast of San Francisco, home to the first and oldest U.S naval base in the Pacific Ocean between 1852 and 1993.

Day 15 Unfolds:

The sun shone in its glory today. I got on my bike to explore the streets in my new neighborhood. I rode to Mare Island, a former naval shipyard. It wasn’t just any naval shipyard. For over a century between 1852 and 1993, Mare Island was home to the first United States Navy base established in the Pacific Ocean. The shipyard became the economic engine of the city of Vallejo, reaching an employment peak of 40,000 workers during World War II.

Between the 1960s and 1990s, Mare Island started declining in its importance as a naval base. The Mare Island Naval Base was finally closed in 1993. Since then, new plans have been made to redevelop Mare Island as an industrial, educational, recreational, residential and historical destination. The development has been slow - it’s been over 20 years and there are a few scattered signs of educational and industrial life on Mare Island including the Touro University, Blu Homes and several industrial companies. There are also talks of Chinese electric car company Faraday setting up a manufacturing plant on Mare Island.

While Mare Island was the first and oldest U.S naval base and certainly served an important role during its time, today, signs of its former glory remain evident on its soil. And it is still trying to revive itself to becoming an important hub.  

As I rode around Mare Island, I’m reminded that every once powerful empire faced an impending eventual collapse. Consider the ancient empires of old: the Persian, Roman, Turkish, Mongol and Egyptian empires - they once rose to great power and they eventually fell to horrific economic ruins and dusted glory.

I’m further reminded that empires bear a parallel to life. As empires rise and fall according to times, so do individuals rise and fall according to seasons. We are never always on the mountaintop, although we’ll like to be. Sometimes we walk through the valley. Sometimes we walk into a dark tunnel and can’t see the next bend. Sometimes we take a fall because we couldn’t see. Sometimes we find ourselves on the summit after having trudged uphill for a long time.

This serves as a timely reminder to stay faithful in my journey of life. Knowing what my purpose is and staying on course even when I seem to be walking in the dark and tripping over a lot more times than I’d like, I’ve got to remember that this trying season is but temporary, and soon enough, the light at the end of the tunnel will emerge.

This also reminds me to be gracious towards others who have yet to walk into their destiny. They may be ordinary folks struggling to get by in life or to make ends meet, but hey, they’re probably walking in a down season in their lives, and soon enough, they’ll emerge at their mountaintop.

The score today?

Joy: 1. Grace: 1.