Apr 01, 2010 - 4:30 pm
This analogy is for all members who are struggling with understanding the emotions and turmoil of diagnosis, treatment, family and society's reaction to cancer.
Just my humble opinion, of course.
Once upon a time we were all landlubbers walking on solid ground and going through our daily lives without a clue as to what a life on the ocean would entail, or what skills would be necessary in order to survive living in a small, individual sail boat while being subjected to the wide-ranging, powerful, and climatic effects of the sea.
Suddenly we have been cast upon the open ocean in our little sail boats with no warning, preparation, tools-of-the-trade, or assistance from the seasoned sailors who have lived this life. Upon first glance, there are too many new skills to learn just to keep our sail boat afloat, much less be able to feed ourselves on a day-to-day basis, or make any headway towards land.
Slowly, out of necessity, we learn which sail to raise; how to steer the boat; how to fish for food; and how to navigate towards safety. All the while we observe others who have been cast adrift at sea trying to manage their individual boats but the communication is limited and advice is of little help because we are all dealing with different oceanic currents, winds, and conditions. Some boats being closer to land and other boats being horribly lost with no indication which direction will bring them ashore.
Waves of different sizes come our way and bring new skills to be learned. Steer into the wind, across the wind, with the tide, against the tide? Who knows?!? This is a learn-as-you-go situation with dire consequences for those who are unable to adapt or who make repeated fatal errors. Black clouds on the horizon could mean any number of things -including "The Perfect Storm" that will indelibly change our lives again with no prediction of the outcome.
We want so badly to throw life preservers and bow-line ropes to others who sail beside us. But in our hearts we know we are of no use to fellow sailors if we are not securely anchored ourselves. Two ships that go down together will be of no benefit to the rest of the armada.
So, we learn when to grip the rudder handle tightly, when to let loose so our boat does not capsize for fighting against the waves and we aim our eyes towards a horizon that offers hope, sunshine and the promise of ports-of-call.
And we learn not to judge other sailors for taking different routes than ours. After all, don't we all want the same thing? To survive our journey intact and learn how to rejoin the landlubbers after viewing the world from our new perspective. Rainbows, warmth, love, affection and connection all have a vivid new meaning for us.
Forgive my misrepresentations of the correct sailing terminology. I am not a Captain of the Sea either.