This I Believe

John - Rancho Santa Fe, California
Entered on April 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage, purpose, work
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The Ship Sails On

Boom! Crack! Thunder explodes over a storm tossed sea, lightning smirks down from above at the tiny ship, ravaged by the tempest gales and sleets, a sailor cowers in fear at the railing, he can’t do it, he can’t go on. It’s just too rough. Without thinking he hurls himself over, time inches by, he thinks, my wife, my son, my home. What had he done? He screams as he plunges into the water. But he isn’t heard. He yells and flounders but it does him no good, the ship sails on. The sailor can’t swim and as he drifts into the tranquility on the dark paradise below the waves of life, his mind races with regret over his choice in the storm. The storm won.

Now, as our poor sailor friend let the storm take over his life, he left things behind, important things. Like his wife and his son, along with everything he had worked for his whole life. I remember one time after my first regatta (a series of sailboat races), back when I was a plump little ten year old. I sailed into the harbor last out of 90 boats; (because I had hung out at the course, not because I had come in last place). I had tasted no food all day and was a very cranky fourth grader. When the results were posted I found out that I finished eleventh out of about twenty-five or thirty racers. Not too bad for a first timer, but I was angry because I didn’t qualify for “Opti Champs”. Now, in retrospect, I laugh at myself for getting so worked up over such a small deal, but at the time I was sinking lower and lower as people I knew kept asking, “So how’d ya do? How’d ya do? Huh, huh, how’d ya do? Huh, huh, huh?” It made me wanna scream, “MIND YOUR OWN BEESWAX!” I got sunk so low that on the way home I told my dad I wanted to quit sailing forever. But I came to my senses quickly. I realized that sailing was a huge part of my life, and that I wouldn’t be living up to my full potential as John, because it made me, well, me. So the next Monday I showed up for sailing on time and ready to fix my mistakes and, “get back on the ship.”

Now, we return to our sailor friend, but this time he doesn’t jump off in haste, he thinks of his wife, first, he thinks of his son, first. And he realizes that he has to ride out the storm, because if he jumps ship, his life will be a waste and everything he worked for will be dust in the wind. So hold on sailor, hold on.