Sailing Through Life

by Gloria Califf

Perched above Budd Inlet in Olympia last week, I watched handful of small matching sailboats all sailing in a circle in sync, participants in a sailing class.  The inspiration of the spectacular view coupled with the sailing tugged at my heart and started me thinking about life.

Those who have sailed before know the pleasure of moving over the water without hearing the hum of a motor. Sails on the craft catch the wind and harness that power to achieve motion. While experienced sailors can move any desired direction, they do not head their watercraft directly into the wind. To sail against the wind, they face the bow into the wind, changing the direction of the sails to zigzag forward. The skilled sailor knows just what angle is needed with the sails and rudder to achieve the greatest efficiency and produce the desired travel.

So it is with life. The skilled and wise person has learned how to use life’s “winds” to achieve a desired direction in life.

Often we need practice to move forward against the wind.  Our travel time will be slower, but we will still arrive with time, skill and patience.

Sailing Through Life

Here are a few starters:

  • Take time to acquire the skills needed for efficient travel. In life, some of these are personal discipline, determination, and willingness to listen and learn from others.
  • Assist others around you. This is our first and only time through life. We are all in a “sailing class.” By sharing our skills, we can help others succeed and learn from them.
  • When the wind is against you, don’t fight it, and stay calm.Don’t panic.  Use the zig-zag skills of tacking to continue moving forward—and accept that the pace will be a bit slower for awhile. Winds will eventually change.
  • When you’re afraid in the storms of life, ask help from God. He is more powerful than any storm life can send our way.
  • Live life with enthusiasm and joy. Bask in the process of getting where you want to be, even if the pace is slower than you like at times.

Jesus and his followers once faced a dangerous storm in the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus was asleep in the boat, which was filling with water. His followers woke him, shouting, “Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and that raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm.

God’s power is greater than any winds of life.

Look to him when you feel like you are going under. He is bigger than any storm. With Jesus in the boat with us, we can’t fail.

Finish Strong!

Gloria Califf has been a triathlete since 1984, competing in numerous short triathlons, half-ironman races, and successfully completing seven Ironman triathlons, including Hawaii Ironman twice.

She has written and published a book, Winning the Race of Life, which focuses on endurance racing while clarifying the spiritual race as outlined in Hebrews 12:1-2. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us . . . run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  She has also written many articles which have been published by various magazines.

Gloria blogs regularly on her Finishing Strong website, which focuses primarily on encouraging people over the age of 50 to stay fit and active. She enjoys speaking for mom’s groups, retreats, and various other functions. Her passion is twofold: to encourage seniors to adopt and maintain a fit and active lifestyle, and communicating to others about triathlon endurance racing and how the principles of endurance racing can make our spiritual race successful.