Life is not plain sailing and I am not a sailor.
But life is like consenting to a journey in a little sailing boat.
I am not keen on boats in general, little boats in particular: too vulnerable, too open to the elements.
There is only room in this boat (which is my life) for two – one of us is the passenger and one of us is the captain. Knowing who is who and where to sit are the essential basics when it comes to sailing.
I have consented to be the passenger If you don’t believe in God then you believe yourself to be alone in your little boat: good luck to you. However, if you do believe in God but think he’ll tolerate being the passenger: good luck to you. Bearing in mind his proven ability to walk away on water, conceding the captain’s seat would be wise.
I do not know where we are going, nor do I know how long the journey will be.
I do know that the things that affect our progress are out of my control; the force of the currents under us (culture, economic forces, the state of the world) the strength of the waves around us (the drag and draw of people’s expectations, their hopes and the gravitational pull of their needs, legitimate or not). Nor can I control the energy that fills the sails: sometimes the winds of life’s circumstances leave me battered or extended at full stretch. Sometimes my sail hangs listless as I am becalmed by a dead space of dull routine.
I am often frustrated by what I do not have: I do not have an engine, I do not even have an oar. I am powerless to drive things forward.
At such times I need to remind myself that I HAVE consented to make this journey and I have consented to be passenger not captain. To turn and see calm eyes fixed on a destination unknown to me, to allow the gentle pressure of a far wiser hand on the tiller, to follow instructions on how to trim or set my sail to either catch or survive the prevailing winds, to learn to lean to one side or the other allowing the boat to rise over the waves rather than sink under them, these are all that I am required to do.
The rest is plain sailing.