Help. Hope. Healing.

I Set My Sail

By Rex Goode

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This is something I wrote a few years ago as I pondered my journey out of same-sex behavior into temple marriage and fatherhood. I keep traveling on, but that one destination is one that seemed impossible for so long. Now it’s a memory and new destinations await.More...

Life is a wonderful journey, filled with adventure, danger, risks, struggle, and striving to reach a happy destination.

So much of my travels I have done in a sailboat but have ignored the sails. For a multitude of reasons, I’ve used my oars. I was raised to believe that this is necessary, that the only destination worth reaching is the one I did all the work to reach.

Working out my own salvation required that I do all the work and present myself, at the journey’s end, to the Lord as a gift that is the some product of all my work and striving. Through that time, I’ve striven to make myself a suitable gift for the Savior.

It is an impossible task to make ourselves good enough to save, but this is how I lived my life, waiting for me to reach some point on the chart of life where I could be ready to hand the wheel over to my Captain and say, “Here’s the boat. I’ve arrived. Don’t need this anymore. I’m here.”

For all my powerful rowing, I had no idea I was trapped in a current going the opposite direction from where I wanted to go. Being on an open sea with nothing but the stars to guide me and knowing nothing about the stars, I really had no idea that I was not only making no progress, but was going the opposite direction. So much sameness as far as the eye can see can be deceiving.

The waves only change with the weather, not with location. You can get too focused on the rowing that way. You can paddle through wave after wave until you’re exhausted and pass out on the deck, to be seared by the burning sun or swallowed by the waves.

Through all this, there was an unseen saving force, blowing all the while through my hair and fingers. The answer to all of my problems was right there, with me the whole time, blowing in the right direction, ready to take me where I needed to be.

All I needed to do was set my sail and follow the breeze, but my doubts and stubborn self-sufficiency kept my oars in the water and my arms screaming in pain with every futile stroke.

In dreams at night, my mind was tormented with fears of drowning, of the mighty leviathans of the deep, waiting to devour me. Each morning, I woke in panic, thrust my oars into the water and feverishly began to row. I was not entirely ignorant of the gentle but powerful breeze that blew. I heard it sometimes whispering my name, calling me to follow it home. Wind in your ears can produce all sorts of deceptive effects and I doubted what I heard.

Wasn’t there more to life than rowing? The wind whispered there was and if I closed my eyes, stopped rowing, and listened, I caught bits of sounds of people laughing with joy, of a woman who wanted to be my wife, of children playing and having fun. Oh how I wanted to be where they were, but I only knew one way to get there. I rowed. I rowed. I rowed. The sounds came again. I dismissed them as illusions. Being a husband and father was not possible for me, out here all alone on an endless sea. But that’s what I wanted, so I listened again. A voice came again, soft and piercing, a man’s voice, deep and inviting.

“Set your sail,” he whispered.

“I only know how to row,” I answered. “I never learned how to sail.”

“Just raise the sail, and I will do the rest,” he replied.

“And I will row?”

“No, just set your sail.”

“How?” I asked.

“Put into your heart that which you want the most. Drive out all other concerns. Fill your heart with that one thing that is the desire of your heart. As your heart changes, your sail will rise. I will do the rest.”

I thought about those voices, the woman and the children. Yes, that is what I wanted. No matter what else I’d experienced, I saw clearly in my soul where I wanted to be. I raised my oars and laid them carefully on the floor of my boat.

At my feet was a rope. I pulled on that rope and a sail rose to the once-barren mast. Tying the rope off, I watched as the sail went into full billow and my little boat lurched in a new direction.

Here am I, O Lord. I am at the place I always wanted to be. I set my sail and thou didst fill it with thy Spirit. This place is beautiful!. It is real!

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4 Responses to “I Set My Sail”

  1. urb0123 said:

    The line, “Put into your heart that which you want the most. Drive out all other concerns. Fill your heart with that one thing that is the desire of your heart. As your heart changes, your sail will rise. I will do the rest.”, brought tears to my eyes, and I’m not sure why.

    Thank you Rex.

  2. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks. I guess I like saying things that bring tears. 🙂 If you think of why you had that reaction, I’d love to hear about it.

  3. urb0123 said:

    I stopped thinking about what I want long ago because it is too painful. You reminded me and presented it in such a way as to give me hope that I could actually have what I want.

  4. Rex Goode said:

    I’m happy to help you have hope. 🙂

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