Try sailing a boat and you'll discover there are two totally different realities at play, one of which you have no control: the wind. You've no control over the natural and perceptible movement of air. But, with your eyes, you can look closely at the water and see the direction in which the wind is blowing. Then you can set your sails to take maximum advantage of nature's natural propeller.
You can take stock of your situation and set your sails so that you are prepared for gale force winds or light winds. Here's a poem for you: One ship drives east and another drives west with the self-same winds that blow. 'Tis the set of the sails and not the gales, that tell the way to go; like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate, as we voyage along through life.... [Ella Wheeler Wilcox, "The Winds of Fate."]
It is our confidence in God that will guide us like a compass and keep us safe when we find ourselves in the midst of the storms of life.
This journey requires each of us look closely at our philosophy; which is the investigation of nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning.
Simply put, our philosophy determines how we think, how we reason; how we react to our thoughts, how we act, where we live; and finally, our philosophy is based on who raised us, where we grew up, what people around us did and said, what we heard and what we weren't allowed to hear. Our philosophy determines who we are and how successful we become.
The purpose of this column is to remind you that you cannot change the family or circumstances in which you were born; you cannot change what happened in your childhood, whether you happened to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth or dirt poor; you had nothing to do with that. God gave you life.
Yet none of this really matters. With God, all things are possible. God uses people indiscriminately. He doesn't choose the smartest; nor the prettiest; not the richest or the one who is poor. We have "free will" and can change the course of our lives.
We can read new books that teach us what we need to know; we can go to vocational school, or college; learn from mentors, or from biographical films that inspire us. It all begins with how we think, our philosophy; it is the set of the sails. We can watch which way the wind is blowing and we can capitalize on that by setting our sails.
Our lives can change every five years should we redirect our sails, and head in a new direction. That's what I'm doing right now. Pray; trust God; focus; and stay focused!
Last week, I was in Chicago on a business trip. And another miracle happened in my life. It was 26 years ago when my company unveiled an "official" bronze bust of the Rev. Jesse Jackson in honor of his historical run for the presidency of the United States. When the bust was unveiled Rev. Jackson had pneumonia and was in the hospital. I never had the pleasure of being photographed with him.
But after more than two decades, I finally got that picture standing beside the bronze bust alongside Rev. Jackson; which bears my name and the names of my sisters, dated February 11, 1986. It sits proudly in the headquarters of Rainbow PUSH in Chicago.
My sails were set back in the early 1980s where it all began, and God guided my boat in the right direction. And I thank and praise God. Are your sails set?