Saturday, 21 June 2008

My Ship(s)

There is always a ship which everyone is somehow either boarding or alighting from depending on the occasion or stage in life.
Some people find themselves in a tangle with someone else; and there is a bond that seems like nothing could ever break or replace it. This is so often referred to as the bond of friendship.

Another could be in an exclusive union with a person who is seen as the most important creature in the world. Nobody else matters in the entire world but this object of affectionate feelings. The love that exists between them is so pure, true, loving, honest, reviving, refreshing, liberating and solid. A proper description for this affair would be relationship.

Akin to the immediately described union above is that within a family, community, town or country. One’s likeness or similarity to others and the quality that makes one accepted and become part of a group is called kinship.

The legal union of two totally different characters with similar or conflicting views, experiences, thoughts, desires, goals, dreams and cultures have come to be one of the most important fusions the world has and may ever know. The process to making this affair concrete has been termed courtship.

What about the gathering of individuals with similar beliefs in a course or religion? The sanctity and uniqueness of this assembly which sometimes is characterised by the perceived presence of a much higher power gives the believers some comfort. Could there be a better word to replace what it has been called: Fellowship?

People everywhere have witnessed the strength, security and fulfilment in numbers. This idea tends to have informed the basis on which a number of persons have united to pursue a common course. This course could be financially, socially, politically, intellectually, morally or spiritually inclined. However, at the end of the day, this unity is pointed out as partnership.

When a man or a woman is a part of a group for whatever reasons, they are treated
with respect just like any other person in that group. Such folks are expected to pay their dues, respond to and be loyal to the body. An embracing word has been used to include everyone in that group as membership.

Depending on the role one plays in certain circles or walks of life and at some designated locations; their service has so very often been talked about as their stewardship.

No matter the name it goes by, at one point or the other, every human being is part of a ship. Irrespective of what that ship might be called, we all want to feel among and be accepted as being one of those to be reckoned with. Every ship has its basic requirements for joining, continued membership as well as for exiting.

Isn’t it appalling how most folks tag along and remain on board a ship or simply hang on to a sinking ship? Knowing fully well the glaring facts that such ships would lead them nowhere, and could very well mean the literal end of their lives as well as their presence could cause the ship to sink, these people have decided not to make a living elsewhere.

How about a situation when one has outgrown the need to be in a particular ship? Here one’s needs are no longer being meet in that ship or the needs of that ship have all being fulfilled by you. The question now is this: what are you still doing aboard such a ship?

If find yourself in a ship or you are about to board a ship, it might be advisable for you to count both the long and short term costs of your presence upon that ship. Need I say here that should you discover at some point of the irrelevance of your presence in there, and vice-versa, the role of that ship in your life, the time should just be apt for you to disembark and allow that ship to sail on!!!

However, there apparently are a few of these ships where life-long commitment is needed and demanded regardless of how much the individuals involved may want to opt out of them. Long gone are the days of absolute loyalty, dedication and trustworthiness. The virtues of patience, love, humour, understanding, perseverance, gentleness, sensitivity, commitment, kindness and joyfulness have all been cast overboard of these ships. What we witness instead today on these ships could very well be summed up as emptiness, dissatisfaction, insatiability, envy, unhealthy rivalry/competition, betrayal, boredom, pretence, lies, humiliation, backbiting, malice, and so on. Everyone has been endowed with a natural instinct to know what relationships are relevant in their lives and if they should remain no matter the circumstances.

It’s no one else’s place to decide for another person which of these ships aforementioned require the virtues that have been named above. The onus is entirely up to every individual to board and dwell on a particular ship they may have chosen to be in.

History has shown that a fellow could be in more than one ship at a time as well as someone not being in any ship at all. Below are a few thought-provoking questions:

Is your presence or role in a ship jeopardising or enhancing its smooth sail?
Do you know fully or partially why you are in a ship?

Could you somehow be the Jonah who must be flung overboard to bring peace and a safe passage to the rest of the ship’s passengers?
Would you rather be elsewhere aboard another ship than where you are at now?
Are you thankful for what you’ve got or you’re full of complaints for what you’re yet to receive while on that ship?
Have you slept for too long aboard this ship while others are left to guess how to make the ship go in the right direction?
Are you probably on board too many or too few ships at a specific time of your life?
Would you describe your influence on other members on board as positive or negative?
Do you sometimes stare with appreciation or contempt at someone else’s seemingly beautiful ship?

Have you taken the time to inspect if there just might be some leakage, dents, broken or malfunctioning equipments in the ship of your fantasy?
Is there a room for expansion to receive more passengers and people from all walks of life or your ship has more than enough capacity already?
Could there be someone else you would rather have at the helm of ship but your pride is in the way instead?
Have you got sufficient provision in case of an emergency?
Do you follow the direction of the compass always or only when you feel lost or have struck an iceberg?
Are there too many or too few people on your ship?
Is your ship so modern, gigantic and unsinkable just like the famous titanic?

Would you say it is cramped, stuffy, suffocating, crappy, and stinky aboard your ship?
Is it perpetually anchored onshore or it is constantly charting uncharted territories of the world?
Do you have any idea who is in charge of your ship?
How conflicting are the ideas and opinions expressed there?
Are there laid down rules and regulations or people and events are allowed to run amok?

Would you say that the discouraged, frustrated, broken-hearted, wounded, battered, shattered, devastated, hopeless, rejected, despised, abused, lonely, betrayed, hungry, tired, lost, and dying lots of the world around you could readily find and receive shelter, comfort, warmth, tranquillity, acceptance, satisfaction, encouragement, hope, healing, kindness, joy, assistance, upliftment,
space, trust, understanding, accountability, succour and faith once upon your ship they embark?

The bottom line here is that no matter the circumstances surrounding the given position at any stage of life, we are all in a ship of some sorts. It is solely up to each of us to make the most of our time and presence aboard whatever ship we are in while we are there, and to exit (if necessary) without over staying our welcome.
You should remember to leave the stage while the ovation is loudest or remain and make yourself useful. By the way, were you able to identify and ship or ships to which you might be part of among the lot mentioned above? If not, why not go back and take a more considerate look and discover for yourself.

© Joy Ozono
21st June 2008

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