“I’m sailing away… Set an open course for the virgin sea.”
Styx sent this song sailing in 1978, I think. I bought the album… that’s right… round vinyl album… in a cardboard sleeve. I loved that album. I can’t help thinking about the first line of the song and how it applies to where my life is right now. One of the good/bad things about divorce is the freedom it can bring. For me at least, leaving part of the past behind brings the possibility of a new direction. I have wanted a new direction and location. Now the process begins to look into the vastness of the rolling waves and begin to figure out which direction to go… And there’s the rub.
Not long ago, a friend wrote me the following:
“Hey, I have an idea. Would you consider writing about the future? Not necessarily exactly what you want it to look like, but dreams and hopes, or just the small things that people might relate to? Maybe just little glimpses, snap shots of the more pleasant aspects of future hopes – those not surrounded with fear – not related to current struggles; but sort of a vision of after. In life coaching, they emphasize the importance of “creating a vision” and “bridging the gap” for people so that they have something compelling to strive for. I know we’ve discussed the importance of focusing on the present and doing what needs to be done now. And that is vital, I know. Well, I’m not even entirely sure what I mean. But maybe that will spark something in your creativity? “
Truthfully, I have always had dreams/visions of the future. Most of the ideas centered on entrepreneurial programs or a life style filled with free time to fill with my interests: writing, photography, design, etc. But the problem was always how to pay the bills. However, the last three years have helped me to focus in on the voyage itself and my relationships. People have become more important than programs. I hope to find and share love again. My sister told me once, that I would find a woman who would think that I was more than “OK,” but… “She will think you are wonderful.” At the time she said that, my soul soaked in the possibility. Could I dare hope to find that? We will see…
My kids are practically adults, but there is still a need for Dad. I know that because my own father was killed in an accident when I was in college. There have been so many times in the past 25 years I would have loved to call him, or see him. I need his advice at times. I want to share with him ideas. I hope to be the father to my adult kids that I never had. Not intrusive, but there when they need me. We all need to know there is someone, somewhere that is on our side, no matter what. I will be that for my kids.
And then there is God… In the past, when I have thought of God, I usually associated Him with activities or a life mission. My thoughts would obsess over what I would do for God/others; or more honestly, what God WANTED me to do in life. I rarely answered that question for very long before another idea/vision/dream would creep into my mind, and then off I would go in pursuit. I have come to believe that God doesn’t have a set “plan” with my name on it that I must find. In other words, a comprehensive, all encompassing picture into which I must find my way. In Genesis, God worked with Adam in a creative, generative manner. They worked together in naming the animals. God didn’t give Adam a mission, and then say “OK…git ‘er done!” God didn’t leave Adam alone to accomplish a plan by himself. Actually, although “all the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…” God gave Adam the responsibility to manage it. But the whole process was meant to be done together. The point wasn’t the Task… The point was the Friendship! God valued Adam so much, that He allowed Adam to use the creativity within himself. Adam trusted God to do what only God could do, and then responded with his own creative action. So…
What does that look like in my life?
My natural response to that question is to develop a process of personal inquiry. Have there been common threads woven throughout my life?
Threads of dreams?
Threads of talents?
Threads of action?
Threads of passion?
Threads of perspective?
I have been looking in the past for direction into the future. And I see many common threads… both in strengths and weaknesses. I must honestly say that I have historically concentrated on my weaknesses. I can get intimidated by my perception of my own insufficiency.
Now… if someone were to use the above statement conversationally with me, I’m certain I would say something like…
“The truth is (name incerted), we are all insufficient. We each need others to supply the lack in our lives. The most fundamental supplier is God. Growing in life isn’t concentrating on correcting our weaknesses, but minimizing the damage of those weaknesses by finding someone gifted in our weak areas and partnering with them, then living actively in our strengths and generously giving them to others…”
Dang… that sounds good. It’s good advice, too… to someone else… But honestly, I find it hard to trust myself. Taking the strategy I would help someone else develop and then implementing that same plan in my own life is frustrating. There are many directions into which I could go, but thinning down the possibilities is very difficult.
Where do I give myself best?
In what would I be most effective?
What do I love?
Those might not be hard questions for some people, but I have consistantly had difficulty staying fixed on a direction. I know confidence is a large part of the equation.
However, its time to leave all that behind.
God is the maker of the sea and He stands ready by the wheel…