A sailboat on a choppy ocean at sunset

Enjoy The Journey

I like metaphors. I see them everywhere. Do you like metaphors? I hope so because today you’re getting one.

A few years ago I had a sailboat named Fargone. Unfortunately, I lost her to a falling tree, but that’s another story.

For any sailors reading this, it was a 26-foot sloop with a fixed, full keel. With that long, weighted keel Fargone wasn’t as responsive as other boats. She was slower and a bit cumbersome when coming about. But she was steady and stable in rough seas.

Dealing with life

Now for you landlubbers, it’s time to learn a bit about sailing, and maybe a thought or two on dealing with life.

Lightweight ski boats dash across the water, bouncing over every wave. Their planing hulls keep them on the surface, unencumbered by shifts in tides, currents, or wind. Their powerful outboard engines get them where they’re going fast.

Some healthy people, not all, of course, mostly the young ones, are like those boats. They fly over the surface of life, not slowing for a moment.

Seal, treading water, watch them pass by. Harbor porpoise breaks the surface and roll back down. Seagulls float in mass feeding on herring. But the boaters barely notice any of that. A quick glance and they’re on their way.

Unaware of where they are and the beauty around them, they roar over the water, more concerned about where they’re going and how fast they can get there.

I’m not faulting them. When I was young and had a full lifetime ahead of me, I too had a ski boat and cut through the waves at 28 mph. I’d hit rolling swells head-on to make my boat leap out of the water. And I got to the islands in 30 minutes flat.

Those days, life was more about getting somewhere than being somewhere.

"We feel life. We float deep within it."

Sailboats (and heavier powered boats and ships) feel different in the water. They have displacement hulls that reach deep below the surface. And, in the case of sailboats, have a mast with bellied sails reaching towards the sky. They move slower and are strongly influenced by all the forces nature throws at them.

The water heaves the boat up and down. The bow pitches up as the stern falls. She surges forward and back. Sways side to side. Yaws left and right around its center. Rolls in heavy seas and heels over in the wind. You have to constantly make corrections to stay on course.

Much like sailors, those of us with life-threatening diseases are more aware of each day and the winds fate has thrust upon us. We feel life. We float deep within it. For us, it’s less about going somewhere and more about being somewhere.

Since we lost Fargone, my wife and I use a powered boat. Yes, we’ve gone to the dark side. It’s okay though, we take it slow and appreciate the beauty around us.

I already know my destination, so I choose to enjoy the journey.

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