Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)
TITLE: All at Sea?
By Andrew Rees
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‘Go to sea’ - the route to promised lands and new peoples four hundred years ago. It was a hard life aboard ship – braving the elements, with discontented crew, bad food, aloof officers. Exploration was a precarious adventure that meant long days and several years away from home. Risks were great, and the odds of success low (however that was measured?). Changing course on square riggers involved sending men up the mast to release or furl sails in high winds. Setting course required skill in using the sextant – no GPS in those days. Mistakes could be costly. Once on board ship you were committed, no easy way home, no changing your mind. Cost and commitment came first, achievements and rewards later.
Not for me you say? Rather stay at home than have all that worry even if the 1600s or even 1800s were a long time ago. Better a quieter life than all that pain, and those stress induced fights, both verbal and physical. Men setting off in search of a dream on a wing and a prayer – the North West passage, the Great Southern Ocean, the Americas. Is it all worth it ? All that suffering, with the disappointment of failure a real possibility. Let’s stay with what we know, what’s certain and what can’t hurt us.
Or are you there on the deck? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The lashing rain and beatings being all worthwhile, when after 60 days afloat to the ends of the known world, the sound of ‘land ahoy’ echoes from the Crows Nest. The moment you’ve waited for, the chink of sunshine in a grey sky, the lucky break. You can cheer as the ship’s boat is let down and the shore party set off to meet the natives. Even then there’s a risk of hostility, more fighting, even death. But just perhaps…………..
How many returned from their expeditions having discovered more in themselves, than the new lands they physically found? Skills they never knew they had, including the will to survive. How many of those couldn’t return to a settled life later, but got the itch to go back to sea again and again? As if fulfilling something deep within themselves. The urge to take a risk to reap a reward.
Paul, the apostle, had a life full of adventure, often at the centre of unrest and riots, and was uncompromising in his approach. Even for today’s Christian the scope for adventure, reaching out in prayer and in person, taking risks, responding to the Spirit, continues to be enormous. In fact, the best adventure there is.
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