Story type: Essay
“There be three things which are too wonderful for me; yea, four which I know not.
“The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; THE WAY OF A SHIP IN THE MIDST OF THE SEA, and the way of a man with a maid.”
At sunset a long train of cars waited on a bridge as a sailing ship passed through the draw.
The ship sailed up the river toward the cold Winter sun; another ship sailed past it going in the OPPOSITE direction.
Only ONE wind was blowing. Yet, of those two ships blown by the same wind, moved by the same power, one sailed EAST and one WEST.
It may be of use to you in your career to think for a few minutes about these two ships and the lesson which they teach–especially to young men. —-
The man who has sailed, in his life’s journey, toward failure and disaster looks always with envy, sometimes with hatred, and very often with an intense sensation of injustice, at the man who passes him going in exactly the opposite direction.
Yet the FORCES that move men bound toward success are exactly the same as those that move other men to failure, humiliation and defeat.
It is all a question of the way in which you use the forces within you–just as on shipboard it is all a question of the use of the common wind which blows.
IT IS A QUESTION OF THE USE OF THE RUDDER.
Two ships pass, each with its sails filled out by the same wind. The difference in direction is accounted for by the handling of the rudder and the adjustment of the sails.
What the force of the wind is to the ship, our varying emotions, passions, ambitions, appetites and aspirations are to us. All of these constitute the power which may be called HUMAN FORCE.
This power differs in different individuals, as the wind differs on different days. It may blow from the east or the west or the north or the south. However it may blow, it can be forced, by proper steering, to send the ship in any direction desired.
It is harder to beat against the wind, of course, and many men have hard struggles to steer themselves to a good port in the face of an adverse start, a hard beginning, or inclinations difficult to overcome. —-
But in all of us the force exists which can be made to move us in the right direction–the force within us can be MADE to obey our will, if the will be strong and the hand on the rudder steady. This can be proved–for instance:
There is a certain force in human beings called LOVE. This force leads sometimes, and happily it leads usually, to domesticity, morality, care of children and lifelong devotion. Then the force is used properly.
The same human passion leads to murder, suicide, theft, to almost all forms of crime.
There is another human passion called AMBITION.
This human force of ambition, with a Lincoln’s conscience to guide it, saves a republic.
The same force guided by Benedict Arnold seeks to betray the nation. —-
Consider yourself a ship launched on the sea of life under certain conditions–but with the essential condition in your own control.
The wind may be feeble, you may drift for a while or move very slowly–move at least in the right direction.
The wind may blow a gale, and you may feel, as so many do, that you cannot control your emotions and your appetites. But if that comes show at least as much interest in yourself as a sailor does in his ship. Take in sail and fight the storm, instead of going willingly to destruction. —-
Four things puzzled and impressed the wise man that wrote the nineteenth verse of the thirtieth chapter of Proverbs.
Think to-day about the third of these things:
“The way of a ship in the midst of the sea”
The way of a human being in the midst of life is like that of a ship on the ocean.
Make up your mind that your own way at least shall be controlled by the rudder of conscience, and learn from the passing ships a lesson of use in your own life.
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