As the day draws near for the official launch of Beyond Waiting, I find myself delving into the fairytales once more, comparing what the world tells me the stories are about (Prince Charming) with the adventure that comes before their “happily ever afters” – which, in case you didn’t know, is actually what the story is all about. So here I am, thinking about finding deeper meaning in the fairytales, when I come across a passage in Steven James’ Sailing Between the Stars that talks about a fish launching itself into the air:
“At first I thought it was somehow unnatural for fish to jump like that: They’re fish, right? They’re just supposed to swim in the water. After all, that’s what they’re made for. But as night fell and the starts began to bespeckle the sky, I realized that for a fish to leave the water isn’t breaking the rules at all – it’s just exploring the true extent of what it really means to be a fish.”
So, what do fish have to do with fairytales? Remember the Little Mermaid? You know… red-headed girl who trades her voice for a pair of legs? Yeah, that one. Now, the common misconception is that Ariel traded her fins for the sake of some guy, but that’s only partially true. See, long before her prince entered the scene, Ariel dreamed of a life outside of the sea. From the day she was able to poke her head above the surface, she was enraptured by the sun and the shore and the ships and the objects she’d never known existed. And from that moment on, the Little Mermaid dared to dream an impossible dream.
She yearned to trade her feet for fins – if only for a day. She longed to experience the life of a human – if only for a moment. Her friends and family told her she was crazy. They told her to get her head out of the… waves. She’s a mermaid. There are certain things that mermaids can’t do, and dance along the shore is one of them.
But somehow, Ariel found a way. She made great sacrifices – took an incredible risk – to pursue the dream that beat in her heart. Because Ariel, like the fish in Steven James’ story, knew that she was meant for more than merely swimming. And she dared to explore the full extent of what it means to live.
Maybe you, like myself, have been guilty of becoming content to stay beneath the waves. Maybe you’ve forgotten what it is to dream of the shore. Maybe you’ve allowed yourself to become consumed by the mundane task of flicking your fins back and forth, back and forth, propelling yourself along the currents of a life that doesn’t bring joy to your heart.
Let me remind you that, somewhere beyond what you may be able to see in this moment, there is a dream worth dreaming, a life worth living, and a vision worth sacrificing for. I pray you’ll find the courage to poke your head through the surface of the sky, fly like a fish, and dance along the shoreline of your dreams.