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Sunday Morning

In Shackleton's account of the Endurance expedition, he wrote about the many challenges he, Worsley, and Crean faced as they crossed South Georgia.

The worst seemed to be behind them as they crossed what they thought was a snow-covered "plateau." It was a semi-frozen lake. Shackleton "suddenly" found himself up to his knees in water and "quickly sinking deeper."

"I flung myself down and called to the others to do the same, so as to distribute our weight on the treacherous surface. ... After lying still for a few moments, we got to our feet and walked delicately, like Agag, for 200 yds., until a rise in the surface showed us that we were clear of the lake."

This small incident came to mind when I was in the throes of chemotherapy in 2004. I reread it more carefully than usual. Who was Agag? What was Shackleton saying? It sounded biblical.

The Boss was referring to 1 Samuel 15:32. Like Agag, he had been too optimistic in his thinking that "surely," the time of trouble had passed.

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