To Moving Forward, Even When…..

Our Princess chose to learn about sea creatures this year in Science.  She has really enjoyed reading and learning, and she has shared things with me that I didn’t know.  Like the sea turtle who eats plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish, or like today.  I didn’t know that Columbus and the folks of his time weren’t really afraid of sailing off the earth.  But they were afraid of something else.

“Mama, do you have any really, really old maps?”

“I don’t know.  How old are you wanting?” (Keep in mind she has lived almost her entire life in the GPS era.)

“Well, it says in my book that mapmakers used to draw sea monsters on their maps to warn the sailors of danger, and I wanted to see what they look like.”

Ahem.  After I assured her that I most likely didn’t have any maps THAT old in my collection, I told her we could look them up on the internet and see what we could find.

We did a search and found a great number of “sea monster” maps at www.strangescience.net .  (Very interesting, check them out if you have time.)  They are really amazing to see–the detail and the imaginations.  There are drawings of sea “monsters” that date back to the 12 century and pottery pieces that can be traced back to 1st century.

Absolutely fascinating for us–we sat together and guessed what animals the cartographers might have seen that made them draw the different creatures.

Some of those creatures though, we knew they’d been straight made up in someone’s head and drawn from what they imagined was out there.

Huh.

So they imagined the worst and drew it out as a warning on these maps…..as though what they feared was real?  Giving the fear a life unto itself?

Huh.  Again.

I don’t know about y’all, but I might have been known to do that–a time or ten at least.

Taking what scares me, and bringing it to life in my head, so much so that I am afraid to move, to set my sails and take off into unchartered territory.

Frozen by fear.

There is so much to be afraid of in this world, so much REAL stuff.  When I looked at these maps today, I realize that I’ve bypassed the real stuff and gone straight to making up things to be worried about or afraid of.

Yeah.  When the real stuff that does exist is bad enough, I’m off drawing monsters that I can see in my head and trying to make them real…..because I’m that afraid.

Of something that may not even happen.

Of something that, thus far, doesn’t even exist.

Well.  It’s time to tear up that pencil and pad and find my boat.  The one that will take me places I have never been with people I’ve never met.  And where most of the things I imagined could devastate me will. NOT. even. happen.

Ever.

Tonight I’m thankful to know that I’m not alone in breathing life into my worries and letting them chase me from the next journey I should be taking.  Our people have been doing this for hundreds and hundreds of years apparently.  Fearing what may never come to be, what isn’t even real.

Tonight I’m also thankful to be reminded that many sailors apparently did sail through waters they feared might be the death of them.  They sailed on and went forward.  It reminds me of a quote my very wise cousin shared with me two days ago, when darkness threatened to shut out all of the light and brokenness tried to win over love.  The line is from “Wish I Was Here” with Zach Braff.

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Amen.  To moving forward.  Into the unknown.  Moving past our fears or dragging them along with us.  Either way, moving forward.  In the direction we were meant to go.

May we all have the wherewithal to do just that today.

Love to all.

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