Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Which Ship Do You Want To Be On?
(I am trying to write something each Friday but since I will be out of town I thought I would post this early)
In looking at our life journey I am a strong believer in the power of metaphors to help us shaping our direction. That is why I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Tale Of Three Ships by Dwight Edwards. He is an author I met at the recent author luncheon I wrote about. He is an author, Pastor of a church in Houston and President of High Octane for the Mind. If you still need to purchase a gift for a high school or college graduate this makes an excellent choice to help shape a young person’s life. He looks at our lives as being one of three types of ships.
His driving thrust is that we are created for a purpose. To go beyond just existing in life or just getting by, or where we look back and see that life has past us by in our final days we need passion and purpose. In that search in our life we are on at one time or another one of three ships. It is our choice which one we spend the most time on.
The first one he writes of is the Sinking Ship. Doesn’t sound like a nice one, but in reality many people spend much of their time there. This is the ship where we are living in survival mode. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” -Henry David Thoreau. This quote describes this ship rather well. There is a song in each of us that is meant to be shared with the world. For most sadly it remains silent as they allow life to pass them buy just like a herd of cows grazing and sleeping life away. Never trying anything new or taking a risk. Just living paycheck to paycheck and waiting for life to end.
The second ship is the cruise ship. Now we are talking. If you have never taken a cruise you should try it. All your comforts are met, food anytime you desire, and totally relaxing. The cruise ship is a metaphor for a life full of materialism and the pursuit of the pleasure principle. Is life just about acquiring more stuff than the next person? Living just for pleasure and material things leaves us in the end with just a bunch of stuff at the end of life. King Solomon’s one major theme in Ecclesiastes is that a life striving after things is just vanity. This again does not mean it is wrong to enjoy a vacation, a movie night, a fine restaurant, ect. The question is should that be a focal point of our existence? Ponder over these words by psychologist, William James , “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” He was speaking of doing significant things in our life. Our toys and stuff just wind up in resale shops or junk yards after our death.
The final ship is the battleship. This is not about starting fights he is using the battleship as a metaphor for making a difference or having a significant impact in life. This hearkens back to the previous William James quote. This ship looks at a life where having a significance and a purpose in your life is an important focal point. The author terms it as having a noble cause. Here he quotes one of my favorite authors Psychiatrist Victor Frankl, “ Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity.” Frankl’s words take us back to the concept that we all have a purpose for our life. Part of the adventure is finding the purpose and living it out.
As I look back most of my life has been mostly on the sinking ship and a journey on the battleship with a little bit of cruise ship tossed in. The author points out that we spend time on each ship. In seeking the best life possible and living an exceptional life we need to focus in on ship number three the battle ship – living for a noble cause.
Reflection: What ship are you presently spending most of your time on? Take 20-30 minutes to journal or draw your dreams of what battleship living looks like to you? What specific opportunity do you see in your ships telescope that is an area you can have significance in? Is it a particular cause or person you can spend more time with?