Kids are obsessed with pirates. Im not sure why. Somehow the heroic life of a pirate is an obsession for the young. If I asked my son he'd be hard pressed to even really define a pirate, but he knows they sail boats, wear crazy hats and have parrots that talk! Boats and talking birds, what else do you need at 6 years old?
I drove down to Half Moon Bay yesterday to join a group of leaders for a coaching group. I was thrilled when author and leadership coach Jenni Catron invited me to join them, and I knew there was something for me here, though I couldn't tell you what I was expecting. Some advice for my writing? Some leadership nuggets to take home? Who knows. But I was expectant.
Half Moon Bay is a beautiful harbor and I've loved harbors for a long time. There's something about a boat resting on the waters edge, moored and secure. It rocks gently, tethered to the shoreline, never out of control or unsteady, cradled and completely protected. It's as if it's sleeping, not wanting to be disturbed. It's a peaceful picture that I've tried to capture with a camera quite a few times.
Boats are made to leap waves, sail into the unknown for adventure and exploration, that's what they are created to do. Boats are for movement, for experience and action. In a harbor the strength of the boat is untested and it's capacity undiscovered. It looks pretty and clean, but it's unfulfilled in it's purpose. The boat faces the same tension that I do; stay or go? Rest or advance? I desire the security of the dock but also hunger for the adventure of sailing the blue expanse. It's a tension because the ocean is so mysterious. One little boat seems so lonesome and unattached, carried by every whim and urge of the roaring curl. What if the boat cannot withstand the turbulent thrashing? What if it can't find it's way home? What if in a moment it's overcome and destroyed? Sailing the open seas is a risk. Some days I long for the harbor, and others I just want to cast off and put to sea. It's this feeling that keeps me at the feet of Jesus. I want to live into my purpose with all I have and sometimes that means leaving the harbor even when I'm scared and have no clear destination, trusting that He'll meet me out there. Venturing into vulnerability and risk leaves me feeling naked and exposed, like that little boat facing a storm in remote and unchartered waters. Yet I'm drawn there as if I was made for it. But I've never been taught it. I feel all the tension and the strain.
There's something in children that just innately gets this. That by nature we're all built for the wild and gutsy experience of venturing into the unexplored, with only Jesus at the helm. No guarantees except His presence. And it's in that vulnerable place we find our deepest desire satisfied: to be what we were purposed to be. A pioneer, a traveler and a dynamic participant in this turbulent and exciting quest that is life.
At heart, maybe we're all pirates.