Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Ship

I have a ship. Not a literal one (way too much money and work), but a figurative one. Usually I’m uncreative and call my ship, “My Ship.” But sometimes I call it, “My Life Boat." (And that's only slightly witty.)

Here’s the deal with My Ship...

First, I get to pick who travels on it with me. No one else’s opinion matters. I decide. Just me. After all, it is my ship.

Before I sound rude, let me assure you that you have a ship, too, even if you don’t know it. Yes, you have your very own Life Boat! You can fill that boat with whomever you want, you can paint it any color, and you can name it something completely ridiculous if that makes you happy. After all, it is your ship.

You may ask, “What exactly does this ship do?” It's a good question, and the answer depends on whose ship it is. Because different ships travel to different ports and set sail in countless different seas.

Another thing about My Ship is that I am the captain of it (and you are the captain of yours). Better yet, let me back up. 

As babies and as kids, we are not ready to captain our ship yet. So others steer it for us. Sometimes they teach us exactly how to steer for when it's our turn. Sometimes we learn from their mistakes.

As adults, however, we take over at the helm. Sometimes we need to call in relief because everyone needs to rest. But still, as the captain, we choose who will steer when we are too tired or to sick to steer ourselves.

The best part about being the captain of our own ship is that we pick our co-captains, our crew, and all of our guests. Sometimes we allow someone onto the ship and later realize that he/she is far too much like a pirate. He/she would be better off on someone else’s ship, or maybe floating in the ocean alone. If we’re brave, we kick them off our ship...with a life jacket, of course, but there is no room for pirates where we are going.

I came up with this ship idea when I got cancer. I have no idea what made me think of it, but over the last two years, I have thought about who I would want on My Ship. Who is a disguised pirate? Who would just drag the boat down, or slowly poke a hole in its bottom? Better yet, who would I ask to help me navigate? Who would make my trip more joyful? More purposeful? More…full? I have lists in my head.

Here's another thing -- some people care a lot about what their boat looks like. In some ways, I do, too. I want my boat to be clean and strong, safe and comfortable. But I don’t want a yacht. I can see why people like yachts, but still, I’m not the yacht type.

I love to think about My Ship. I make decisions about how to spend my time based on My Ship. My Ship has brought me clarity and comfort.

My Ship, like all ships that leave port, has sailed through rough seas and, oftentimes almost simultaneously, has sailed alongside spectacular sunrises. It has cracks and patches and parts that creak. As I said, that happens to any ship that heads out into the open sea. And that is why we better load our boat with the right people, the right maps, and the right motivations. Because we only get one boat. And one awesome journey into the sunset.


  1. Tara,
    Thank you for this message! The timing of this post was just perfect. You gave me such a new and much-needed perspective on the day! What a gift...to share your own thoughts and in the process raise others up....thank you, thank you! Hi to the family!

    1. Kelly, It sounds to me like it's time to kick someone off your boat haha. xoxo