The grainy vocals of Bob Dylan slipped almost unnoticed from behind soft lights and jumbled exchanges. And it would be only in the beauty of hindsight that I would notice he was even really there. There’s irony in the fact that letting go can leave you holding nothing, when maybe a part of you wants to be holding something.
And it isn’t until we let go and leave the safety of the shore, that the real sailing can even begin. But no one seems to like to talk about the wild seas, or about the dangers, and discomfort of sailing them – even though those conditions are an inevitable part of our journey. So when the storm hits, sometimes we lose balance and fall – maybe we aren’t prepared, maybe we aren’t ready. But maybe we simply can’t be ready until we experience what lays ahead. And it’s scary, and real, because we don’t know what awaits, and we can’t prepare for it. But we can be sure that however wild the seas, they will help us become better sailors. They will enable us to approach the next storm with experience, and will give us new eyes through which to view the world. Hopefully, after the storm passes we can pick ourselves up from the deck, dust off our knees and smile as the swell dies down and the flat water stretches out for as far as the eye can see. Hopefully, we will recover.
We like to imagine that life will dish us out endless summers and crystal clear waters forever. And sometimes, from our own boat we look across and it seems everyone else is sailing smooth waters all the way. Do not be deceived. Our journey cannot be compared. Our storms may not look like the storms of our neighbour, so we should only gauge our progress against where we were yesterday. And despite the discomfort, we can only try and view the challenges of those wild seas as our greatest teachers. Perhaps we are even lucky for having sailed them. For they help us to grow, and they teach us to be the sailors we were destined to be. Without the storms, the clear days would become dull. The contrast is what creates our experience. High and low, back and forth, round and round.
The biggest lessons are often hidden behind the biggest mistakes. And until we are ready to learn them they will continue to return to us in a different disguise. So we must accept they are a part of our journey, and necessary for us to learn – so we can grow enough to move forward – past the storm and back into clear waters.
The sun rose again to reveal a beautiful calm. And as the haunting vocals of Bob Dylan drifted across the water I turned and finally lost sight of the shore.