Before we take off on a cruise, we tie down dinghies, stow the sunshade, clear and secure lines, and set up jacklines if we’re heading out to sea. (Jacklines are tight, secure, lines that run from the bowsprit back to the cockpit and allow us to hook on tethers as we go forward. The last thing either of us wants is to become shark fodder, and the tethers and jacklines are part of Sea Venture’s safety equipment to keep us from sliding off and over in a big sea.)
I wasn’t on board as Sea Venture traveled toward Panama, and the doghouse cabin top seems to have accumulated everything the guys didn’t want to stuff below. But you can see the jackline, going forward from the mizzen mast. And there wasn’t much wind. Perhaps they’d have tucked the other items below if there’d been danger of a blow.
Sometimes my personal decks need to be decluttered so that distractions–which love to grab hold of each of us–won’t keep me dashing around, chasing loose lines before they drag in the water and risk fouling the propeller. I can get so caught up in the ought-tos that I forget to take a deep breath and ease back into the truly important things in life.
Those important bits are different for each of us and assume different levels of priority. But we each have the capacity for distraction, don’t we? Running here and there after that thing we need to know, that bit we ought to do, that person we ought to court, that group we ought to join.
These last few days, I’ve been considering my motivations for all of it. Trying to dig a little deeper into what is real, what is valid, what is true, and what is needful. For me.
I’m not suggesting that my answers will be your answers. The questions are universal, but each of us must define our own priorities.
My children are grown and away. Much of my family has fled into virtual hiding. But the call to love them remains acute and requires practice. Loving my children, my husband and mother? Loving my world? These are easy.
You may have young ones at home. Or you may live alone. Perhaps your world revolves around city life. Perhaps suburbia or the country. Or maybe your backyard changes whenever you up-anchor as ours did when we lived on Sea Venture.
But you and I each have things we’re called to do, don’t we? A job, a lifestyle, a ministry, a friendship, an art–something that needs our focus. Something for which we need to keep the decks clear.
As a writer who has at least one book releasing in the who-knows-when future, I’ve let myself become distracted by what-I-should-be-doing-to-learn-how-to-market. I read conflicting ideas from gurus and then clutter my decks with all the shoulds. Unless I either stow all that baggage or give some of it away, I’m never going to make it out of the marina slip.
And I want to go sailing. Oh, and finish another book.
How about you? What things or circumstances are keeping you anchored in place? Can you divest yourself of the un-needful in order to concentrate on the important?
And what does important mean to you?