Monday, March 7, 2011

Under Way

I ran across this weekend the following poem by Edgar Guest, entitled George Gray:

I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me—
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire—
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Life without meaning is the “torture of restlessness and vague desire.”  Meaning-laden words.  Vague desire … a knowledge, a sense that something is missing from one’s life, something one desires, yet one doesn’t quite know what it is.  Or perhaps one is aware of the desire, but because of fear, one never allows one's heart to nurture or even explore that desire.  Put another way, one has chosen to stay in port rather than leave the safety of the harbor to find what lies “out there.”

This past weekend, I have left the safety of the harbor.  I have opted to seek to put meaning in my life, which “may end in madness,” but at least I will no longer suffer the torture of restlessness and vague desire. 

I have indeed experienced moments of “madness” this weekend, of temporary disorientation, of identity crisis, of seeking my bearings.  These moments have cause little spasms of fear, which I suppose are natural when one believes one has made progress in self-knowledge, only to discover that new situations challenge all the progress one has made.  

However, though I may have experienced disorientation and pangs of fear, I have not experienced one second of regret.  No regrets!  What lies ahead may be uncertain, but I do not regret leaving the past. 

The ship of my future is under way.  Now all I need to do is get my sea legs ...


  1. Dear Invictus,

    How well I know these feelings. Even after setting sail, one is still surrounded by those feelings: desire, fear, madness, serenity ... it is SO normal to have spasms of fear and anxiety. We are creatures of habit and when those habits change, we have to adapt: all our our brain, our body, our hearts ... I admire what you are doing Invictus. It takes a lot of courage to do what you do in order to be true to yourself and to this gift of life you have been given.

    Courage, courage courage....

  2. I was not familiar with the Guest poem and enjoyed it very much along with your comments. I couldn't help but think of a little verse by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (she is the one who wrote "Laugh and the world laughs with you, Weep and you weep alone." [Solitude].

    I thought her words also insightful when sailing into the "winds of destiny".

    The Winds of Fate

    One ship drives east and another drives west
    With the selfsame winds that blow.
    'Tis the set of the sails,
    And Not the gales,
    That tell us the way to go.

    Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate;
    As we voyage along through life,
    'Tis the set of a soul
    That decides its goal,
    And not the calm or the strife.

    Sail on, sail on, sail on and on.


  3. There'll be times when you'll second guess and wonder over and over but as with anything time will help heal all things. I hope you know that you're in my thoughts.

  4. You are loved friend! Remember the promise of Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.". You have a future and a hope!!

  5. @Libellule - Thanks for your comments, as always. It is so comforting to have one's feelings validated as "normal," instead of "abbie normal" (reference to Young Frankenstein). :) Seriously though, validation is such a key to mental health. Thank you.

    @Trey - What can I say? Thank you yet once again for your comments and for the poem you shared. I love it.

    @Miguel - Thanks, friend. I kept telling myself that over and over again this past weekend: time, time, time. Thank you for being there and caring.

    @Kevin - What a wonderful thought/scripture! Thank you for this and for your friendship, mon frere.