This Metaphor is most applicable in the context of caring deeply for an individual who you cannot control… an individual who is suffering themselves or bringing you significant suffering.
Our life is sail boat with no engine
There are times when the sea feels predictable
The currents are known – they are usable or avoidable
The tide can be understood
The weather is gentle and the wind comes steadily from a single direction
The sun warms in the morning and the soft waves roll us to sleep
Everything needed is stored safe, warm, and dry
The rudder and sails can be controlled to match life with desire
Intention is very close to reality
We feel in control of our environment
Life brings storms
Unpredictable wind, rogue waves, partially submerged rocks and dangerous debris
Sails get ripped, control over movement is lost
Water pours in dampening assets and stealing heat
Wood bends and cracks
We see the rocks on the coast and understand mortality
We cannot control the outcome
We are left with only the ability to bail out the boat, to steer into the waves, and to repair what we can
Willpower is admirable – suffering is not anyone’s fault
Efforts to survive chaos display character
Acceptance gives quiet in the storm
Often when we have young children the sea of life feels more predictable – our own sails and rudder are decently effective in guiding their choices. We choose their food, we manage their relationships and activities, and we schedule their lives to increase the probability of safety and growth.
Then they grow up and when the storm comes we find that our sails have been ripped by time and we are left with only our acceptance, resilience, and willpower to persevere in chaos. And we learn to love ourselves again in loving the storm.