I am not afraid of storms,
For I am learning
to sail my ship.
~Louisa May Alcott
|Sailboat Nautical Silhouette Red Storm Digital Art print|
available from MamasHouse on Etsy
I have a copy of that quote by Ms Alcott in a frame above my desk, and while I look at it often, I don't read it and take it to heart as often as I probably should. Of course, I realize the meaning behind the quote isn't meant to be taken literally, but, as a reflection of attitude towards life's storms, these fourteen little words have a great lesson to teach us all.
Overall, life isn't easy for most of us. For many of us, myself included, it has its share of difficult times, heart wrenching moments, and times when you just wonder how you're going to make it through the day. But you do. Sometimes you even come away from a rough experience with a renewed energy, stronger for having survived whatever trials the day has brought. You learn to appreciate life and its lessons, and cherish the good times all the more.
I am still - even having dealt with what many will agree has been more than my share of "moments" and "days" - learning to sail my ship and dealing with the occasional seasickness that ensues. When the waters of life are calm and the wind is simply a gentle breeze barely billowing the sails, navigating life's seas is easy, and it's at those times I find myself pushing even harder to learn and create, to succeed, to work harder, and to help others on their journey to succeed as well.
Granted, smooth seas are satisfying and the learning and growing that happens when life is flowing smoothly is wonderful, but I think I find that life's storms provide me with better opportunities to learn and grow... as long as I'm willing to embrace the process. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort, and I do mean a LOT of effort, but I can't imagine a life without effort. I would miss the sense of accomplishment, the personal pride in attaining goals, the glow of that proverbial light bulb over my head when something I've struggled with finally "clicks." Those are the moments I feel most alive and filled with purpose, and even though I may have to hold on tight to ride out the storms, in my heart I'm not afraid because I know that the universe will give me exactly what I need to survive.
Sometimes it seems like society teaches us that we are defenseless in the face of life's storms, and by doing so, encourages us to hide from them, run from them, or at the worst, become apathetic toward them. Perhaps what we need now more than ever before is to learn to simply hang on... and learn to sail our ships through them.