MY VERY FAVORITE QUOTE:
"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
Today we are going to talk about Pirates.
Stay with me.
Try to recall the first time you tasted "victory". Watching Rocky doesn't count. However, a moment that you were Rocky, victory dance and all, that counts.
I liken the "victory" feeling to a lowly sailor swabbing the deck, starting out timidly. The task stretches out before you into the endless sky. FOREVER. So you take it a square inch at a time. Some of the crew might chip in to help, but others use their power to nit-pick at the "shoulda's" "coulda's" and "why even try's". By the end of the scrubbing though, you've made an entire ship gleam with a vengeance and you've thrown the nay-sayers and muddy boot smearers overboard. (They totally deserved it). Heck, you commandeered the entire ship by your refusal to give up on the small and simple act of swabbing. With the fiery indignation of Medusa, this ship is going to go when and wherever you want and, by George, you're going to get there with clean floors.
Too far? Let me back up.
We are talking about a moment when you starred into the abyss of "I have no idea-dom" and emerged with a sparkling, shiny feeling on the inside because you "dared greatly" enough to try. Do you have your moment? Here's mine.
I was 14 and it was a Sunday. Utah was playing it's favorite wintertime trick when it is blindingly bright with sun and snow while simultaneously being colder than a witches tit. I woke up, layered accordingly, put on running shoes and stepped out my front door. Back story: On that day, one year before, my dad died of a heart attack....while running. In my teenage mind for the last 364 days, running = dying. After one year of fear, it was time for my higher brain to sit down with my lower brain and discuss the cold, hard facts.
FACT #1: I knew lots of people who ran and did NOT die.
FACT#2. Running is just like walking only faster. I can totally do that without dying.
Or at least I was willing to try. I was willing to try because I didn't want to spend my next 364 days or years feeling like this anymore. THIS fear needed to die. Hard.
I ran one full mile that day. I'm not going to lie, it wasn't pretty. It took me 15 minutes. It felt like 30. My lungs burned with that almost bloody, metallic taste. I required a long bath after but with Heaven as my witness, I did it.
As a kid, I wanted to be a pirate who wrote messages in a bottle when I grew up. I figured this would allow me to feel victorious all my days. Ya know, like in Goonies. I'm pretty good at wielding a sword upon request (boy mom) and words have been coming out of the middle of me, bottle or not, since I was five. I am tenacious as hell. I do get sea-sick occasionally but oh well. I look around me and realize maybe I have arrived.
I run a lot these days. Every mile is a gratitude. I don't take it for granted. I'm not a great runner but I have gotten better over the years of not giving up. Chasing that victorious feeling has become a bit of a daily feat for me. My definition of victory has changed a tad though. Victory tastes less like metal and more like inner-peace now. At the end of a "victorious life" I'll look around and instead of seeing treasure chests filled with gems and pearls, I'll see evidence of an imperfect life lived with love. And that feels like peace to me.
Your victories are your own. No one can take them from you. On a good day I hope you dance like an idiot with joy in your victory. On other days, I hope you feel the peace that comes from trying and never giving up.