This great ship called life

by Jan on November 13, 2011

“When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt van Rijn 1633

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a 1633 painting by the Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn that was in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, prior to being stolen on March 18, 1990

Life is like a journey on a huge ship in an endless sea. As least it has seemed that way to me.

Personally I have experienced the turbulence of stormy times. Often I was certain that I was lost without a compass.  There seemed to be no one or nothing that could point me in the right direction so that I could find a safe harbor.

At other times it felt as if the ship of life was in the middle of an ocean with no power—STUCK–with nowhere to go and nothing much to do.

Just as I was ready to give up on hope, along would come a strong breeze in the form of a push or a word by a friend, a fresh evaluation of the situation or a dream, and somehow it was possible to start on my way headed to my next destination.

I was urged to accept what is and let go of what is no longer needed.  But to “never give up” the dreams for something better.

Great ships, like life, like us as humans, are built for risk taking and for movement forward.  They are built for rough seas, and have the ability to stand steadfast even with heavy loads to carry, as we are.

The great ships are tested by time and circumstance. But they are tested only when they risk leaving that safe harbor. It is on the journey that they find adventure, escape, hopes, and dreams. It is only on the journey that the ships can fulfill their purpose—and we can fulfill ours.

To me the trick in life is to have both the journey and the rest that the safe harbor provides—to refuel and renew.

But what of the water they sail on?  Do the seas have a story of their own?

One of my favorite stories is of the two seas in Israel.  One of the seas has not a single fish, no birds, and no vegetation.  It gets its water from the Jordan River.  It is known as the Dead Sea.

The other sea is the Sea of Galilee, where the fish flourish, the birds fly freely and this sea is a place of beauty and recreation for many. It also gets it water from the Jordan River.

What is the difference?  The Dead Sea gets the water but does not give its water back.  It keeps it for itself, and therefore has no life.  The Sea of Galilee gets its water from the Jordan River. It does give it back and in that giving back creates the movement and flow of life.

So whether on the sea or on the ship there is way for life to be more “alive.” It is in the flow of giving and getting, risk and rest. This is where hope lives too.


Love this!! Especially the comparison between the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee. I think that is so true of life in general – the more we give back, the more “alive” we become. :)

by Connie Wyatt on November 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm. #

Thanks for your comment, Connie. Yes, the two seas are a powerful reminder of what we are meant to be – both receivers and givers, connected, and alive, sharing the good we’ve been given. Glad you stopped by.
Hope on Hope

by Elizabeth@HopeOnHope on November 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm. #