I have this book, called “1001 Smartest Things Ever Said.” Compiled by Steven D. Price, the book does have a pretty fantastic array of “smartest things ever,” and there are a fair share that I look at, puzzled, and then turn the page.
Tonight, I decided that the best way to write was to open to a random page and write about the quote I find. Here goes nothing!
On page 180, I found this gem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. I have absolutely no clue who this man is, and I did not take the time to look him up for you. Sorry, dear readers. 🙂 But what he had to say was pretty awesome: “I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving – we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
Mr. Holmes hits the nail on the head when he points out that the direction in which we are moving is the thing that really matters, rather than where we are at the current moment. As my brilliant theology professor, Dr. Tom Kelly, often said: “We see from where we stand.” Essentially, everyone’s view is a bit different, therefore it is fruitless to make overall judgments about where people are in their lives. When looking at a mountain, we will all see it differently – based on where we are standing. The same goes for what Mr. Holmes is talking about. Observing and judging a person as to where they are at in their life is fruitless because our perspective isn’t THE perspective, or THEIR perspective; rather, it belongs solely to us. Instead, the intention of movement or the actual action is what should be focused on.
This Oliver guy had to have known that his words would challenge many – because how simple is it to lie at anchor? Or, if we gain the courage to move, simply drift around? The ability to let the bowlines go and sail free is a feat that doesn’t get accomplished by just anyone. We must find the strength within our own hearts to know that what lies ahead is worth getting to, even if there are rough seas along the way.
What stands in your way? Why are you still holding on to the ropes? Or, if you’re sailing, what made the difference for you? Something to think about…