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I’m the Captain of this Ship Now

May 12, 2014 by Diane


You start off with a nice little sailboat.

You’re bobbing along, enjoying the cool breeze, watching the white gulls dive for fish. You’re kicking back and gazing up at a brilliant blue sky that seems endless.

Then life dumps a crate on board, and another, and another, and each crate seems heavier than the one before. Eventually you need a barge to haul them all. Before you know it, black clouds have thundered in, obliterating that infinite blue. You’re riding a roller coaster of gray-green water and you’re barely hanging on–unable to even navigate. You’re headed to the middle of nowhere on a freight that’s loaded down, sinking.

I have a friend who is stuck on just such a freighter.

I hesitated to write on this topic. There’s nothing amusing about breast cancer and skin cancer and having no health insurance. There’s nothing laughable about a lack of income, or pets that become chronically ill, or unrelenting anxiety, or landlords that boot you out when they sell their property. There’s nothing cheery about roommates that die, leaving you to find their body.

Life is weighing down my friend with one crate after another, and it felt too raw to write about.

Then I took a walk in the neighborhood. I noticed a crumpled dollar bill on the sidewalk and thought,  it’s my lucky day! As I bent to pick it up, I had this flash:

The only way lighten the load is to fill those crates with all the good things in life.

It might take ten, twenty, a hundred good things to balance out one of the bad, but stockpile them anyway. It might take a freight-load of willpower and gumption and stamina to find something to uplift you, but look for it anyway. The Law of Attraction might be nothing more than a fantasy, but fantasize anyway. Seek out each moment that makes you feel happy anyway. Go out of your way to gravitate to the good, because the other stuff is easy to stumble over. And little by little you’ll turn that barge around. You’ll rise up, lighter in spirit, and raise a fist Scarlett-style, and vow: “As God is my witness, I refuse to be licked. I’m the captain of this ship now. And I’m turning this monster around.”

We can’t change what life hands us, but we can choose to view ourselves as lucky instead of cursed. We can’t stop the rain (and we need it to grow, anyway), but we can hold onto the knowledge that above the dark clouds the sky is always an everlasting blue.


  1. Carolyn says:

    It’s lucky that your friend knows that there are loved ones who care. And this too shall pass.. never hurts to visualize the positive either..I heard once in a support group that even if you find out it’s make believe in the’s still a good way to try to live your life..

  2. Joan merdinger says:

    Really great Diane! Very good advice too!! Reminds me of the story of the donkey that fell in to a well. The owner decided to bury him with dirt. At first the donkey cried terribly then he became silent. The owner thought the donkey was dead. But with each shovelful of dirt the donkey would shake it off his back and then climb on top. Eventually he was able to climb out of the well.

  3. Einstein said that the most important question a person can ask is if the universe is a friendly place? I’m far from one of those magical thinkers that believe you can cure disease with positive thinking but I do know if makes a HUGE difference. First in how you perceive the world, then and most importantly, how you react to it. How you react to it makes all the difference in the world.

    The biggest gift is being able to smile and laugh and appreciate life no matter what is going on. A long or a short life…. either should be filled with laughter, love and appreciation.

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