Tuesday, January 5, 2016
From the time I was a small, I’ve struggled with sailing. Born a lighthouse, I longed to be a ship. To achieve this, I had to deny my own nature. I struggled to grasp the simplest tasks—like battening down the hatch and holding steady. I watched other ships sail past me with the greatest of ease, and sat overwhelmed by a vast ocean between me and my dreams. I told myself that the opinions of ship-builders didn’t matter. I chose to sail anyway, but an undercurrent brewed beneath the surface, pulling me off-course at every turn. How could I not feel turbulent as I failed in every measure a ship placed value on?
On most days, the storm remained silent, but then I’d have moments when all of the previous turmoil would toss me into the rocks. I’d sit marooned, my mast broken, face to face with the same ocean taunting me. It was times like these when I would pose the same questions over and over and over…
Why have I chosen to travel these waters when I know I can’t keep up? Haven't I experienced enough loss and heartache already? What made me believe that I had a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding? In these moments I’d consider scrapping my boat for firewood, but the thought of being left behind was far more painful than starting again. Perhaps the first attempts were just the conditioning for what lied ahead. I knew one thing for sure: quitting was never an option, but I also knew that my vessel wasn’t good enough. I understood that I wasn’t a ship going in, but it didn’t change my impatience as I tore myself down board by board. Stranded in the center of the ocean with no compass to guide me home, I stared at the treacherous waves taunting me to try again. I began to build, and as the new me took shape I gained a new perspective. Perhaps I had reached my destination after all, and my goal wasn’t really an ocean away. I didn’t need to sail anymore, just shine.
I’d set out to build a ship, but in its place stood a lighthouse. This wasn’t what I’d wanted to be, yet I still marveled over the perfection of my purpose. A lighthouse is patient, resilient, and a symbol of hope. It was everything the world of ships had measured and found lacking. A lighthouse can’t sail, but without their constant vigilance ships run aground. The message burned clear. I needed to be what I was born to be. I needed to shine, to remember that I am stronger, and more steadfast than I had ever thought possible.
My light is crucial. It can change lives. It cuts through the darkness, to reach out, to shed a ray of optimism in a frightful world full of turbulent seas. I wasn’t meant to navigate those waters, and that was okay, because I was destined to light the way.
Ships, lighthouses, harbors, wind, and even the sea itself are all in this together, each playing a crucial part, but if a lighthouse is judging its value by its seaworthiness it will always feel incomplete. Every one of us have traveled dark waters, searching for something on the horizon to fulfill the constant pitching in our hearts. We think that seeking and comparing the speed of our vessels is key to quieting the storm that never stops crying out, “I need to go farther, be more, and move faster.”
This world has enough fast-moving ships. What we need are more lighthouses, and safe harbors. The flame of one candle can be seen for miles on the darkest of nights. It is a beacon of fortitude, peace and faith.
If you are a ship, please continue. But if you are weary of sailing turbulent waters in vessel that is taking on too much water, don’t be afraid to seek refuge. I can guide you into safe harbors where you can rest and rebuild. To do so is my purpose. What is yours?