My dad is embarking on an amazing journey today. He is untying the lines of his sailboat, The Mesmeriah, and sailing from St. Petersburg, Florida to Cuba. I can only imagine the excitement, the nervousness, and possibly bit of fear he is feeling as his vessel, of which he has prepared diligently and is profoundly proud of, is carrying him off to sea.
My dad has always had an adventurous spirit and go with the flow attitude. As a life long planner and list maker, I have appreciated his laid back style and have learned from him to loosen my grip and ride the waves a bit more.
His love of and respect for the sea has taught me to be in awe of the great lakes we are privileged to have in my home state of Minnesota. Spending our summers on the lake is where my spirit is happiest and where I feel most at home. The gentle rocking of a boat, the wind on your face, and the reality that you have no where else to go, nothing else to do, but to be there.
As I reflect back on those summers, I see kids bravely jumping off the edge of the boat, plunging into the cold water, giggling, playing, and having fun. I see a guitar eventually coming out and singing, dancing, and all around merriment coming from it. I see the glittering stars at night, the oldies playing softly on the radio. But, most of all, I see a family being present together, sharing time and space, and creating memories.
People may wonder why my dad wants to sail across the big blue sea. Part of me knows it’s his adventurous spirit that has laid dormant too long and has been aching to get out and play. The other part of me ventures to guess that he simply wants to be. To feel the gentle breeze on his face, hear the sound of the waves on the hull, taste the salty air on his tongue. He wants to be one with the sky above and the sea below him, knowing that his only job, his only responsibility, is to experience the moments, one by one, as they gently unfold.
The miles from Florida to Cuba may be vast, treacherous, and unknown. But the sea is where his heart is calm and open. It is where his stories begin and where they end. He may be sailing off into the unknown but I know he is right where he is supposed to be, where is heart has taken up permanent residence.
I’ll never forget what my dad and the sea have taught me about life.
To embrace the unknown.
To slow down.
To listen to the call of your spirit.
To enjoy the music.
To dance, love, and be free.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”