ISSUES OF FAITH: Life is a lot like sailing

IF YOU’VE EVER been on a sailboat, you understand the importance of the wind.

Without wind the boat will not move; it will simply drift about with the current.

Having adequate wind is key to having an enjoyable experience.

Sailors understand they cannot control the speed or direction of the wind.

If it’s blowing right to left, you cannot make it blow the other way.

If it suddenly changes speed, you cannot regulate it.

What you can do, though, is direct the sail.

In this way, sailing requires cooperation with the wind.

Steering toward a specific point on the horizon, for example, requires repeatedly tacking back and forth in a zigzag fashion.

To tack means to change course by turning a boat’s bow into and through the wind — over and over again, back and forth — each time getting a little closer to your goal.

It may not seem like an efficient way to reach one’s destination, but it truly is the only way to move forward.

Life is a lot like sailing.

Rarely are we able to move straight forward toward our goals.

The opportunities, obstacles and challenges in life are often so numerous, they get in our way. But then, life is not about efficiency.

It’s about adapting, changing course and learning from the journey.

Hopefully, we get the most out of life along the way.

In order to live a rich and meaningful life, we cannot sit back and wait for the winds to change.

We must engage the wind, tack as needed and steer towards the life that still beckons us.

The pandemic has tested us mightily.

The winds have often been fierce and unpredictable.

Yet here we are — still alive, still on the journey.

Each of us has come so far already.

May we celebrate the fact that our sails still work and delight in the possibilities still awaiting us.

Keep on tacking!


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Kate Lore is a minister at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend. Her email is [email protected]

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