Enjoying the Journey

Another “how to” post?  Not exactly.  There will be no formula.  No equation.  No list.  No step by step instructions.  But there is a truth – one powerful truth – that can help you make the most of the year ahead.

We measure our lives in years.  God measures them in days.  Read Psalm 90 and notice the Lord’s emphasis on “the days of our years.”

The way to make the most of the year is to make the most of the days.  One day at a time.  In fact, very ordinary days can turn in to an extraordinary year.

ship_at_sea_sunset_400When the journal of the famed explorer Christopher Columbus was discovered, one entry seemed to fill most days.  It was only three words.  There was little adventure or exhilaration in it.  The simple entry: “We sailed on.”

Many days that is all we are supposed to do!  Sail on.  Columbus is remembered for his discoveries, but it was his persistence that made it possible.  Joaquin Miller wrote the following words about the pioneering spirit that sets such men apart:

BEHIND him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: “Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say, ‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’ “
“My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak.”
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
‘Sail on! sail on! and on!’ “
They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
“Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dead seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say” —
He said, “Sail on! sail on! and on!”
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
“This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”
Then pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck —
A light! a light! at last a light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”


At this time of year there is a great deal of thought about what lies behind and a great deal of talk about what lies before.  That is all fine.  But remember that life is not lived in the past or the future.  It is lived in the present.

It is lived today.  It is lived one day at a time.  The watchword of the year is: Sail on!


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