The song is a Bloodkin tune written by Danny and Eric and included on their album Good Luck Charm, but my favorite band of ever, Widespread Panic, included their version on their album Ain’t Life Grand (an album that will surely make its way into Music Monday at some point), and that’s the version that I love so much.
I don’t want to focus on the entire song today, but just a few lines:
“Set sail for the new world, and I burned down the mast.”
I don’t have a tattoo, but if I ever get one it will be that. In fact, one of my brilliant and exceedingly talented students created the painting for me that you can see in the image above. My reflection is in the picture, so you can’t get the full majesty of the art, but kinda cool with my reflection in light of this post, so I went with it.
I like to be in control. Even if somewhere deep down I know there’s no such thing, I rest easiest in the perception that I’ve got a handle on things. A lack of control, as in being in a plane (see my post from 2/5/21:), or in a storm–real or metaphorical. Health issues and the prospect of mortality… Haha. I’m gonna leave that sentence there, but I realize that phrase “the prospect of mortality” is my own attempt to continue to control all the things. Prospect meaning “the possibility or likelihood” of some future event. And, well, mortality is no prospect. It’s a real thing. So there you go. A real time example of what I mean, by liking to be in control.
But my desire is to burn down the mast. To relinquish control. To let go. I do want to set sail for the new world. The world that I, that many of us, long for. The wiping the tears from your eyes and celebration of life and glory and justice and laughter and kindness and beauty kind of world. I have a pretty good idea in which general direction to seek for that new world. But I don’t know for sure. I respect folks who have all the faith and can say that they know for sure. But they don’t. No disrespect, but that’s why it requires faith. And hope. And on those currents I trust my boat will make it safely to the new world. Not without danger. Not without pain. Pain and anguish and despair and grief are necessary swells towards Light and Life. Towards Glory. As much as I wish it weren’t so, I’ve lived long enough to know how the morning joy after the night of darkness is so marvelous.
And so today, I set flame to my masts of control all over again. And I’ll have to do it again tomorrow. Little by little I will relinquish control and settle in to the ride that leads to the New World. I look forward to ‘seeing you right next to me’ as we travel on.