What if everything hard in life could be cracked by asking and waiting. Every challenge, every journey, every dream.
Let me in.
Let me out.
There’s something on the other side for me. Something waiting. I have plans.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we ventured beyond the rim of Lake Washington into Puget Sound upon my father’s sailboat, Phoenix. We had to cross under approximately seven bridges and go through the locks, which is like an elevator for boats, taking them out of the fresh water lake and dumping them into the salty sea.
But we can’t glide under the bridges like most of the marine vessels that pass through the Lake Washington Ship Canal because the mast on Phoenix would snap in half. De-masting a sailboat is like castrating a man or circumcising a woman. You just don’t do it.
In order to open all of those bridges, we needed to sound the horn. But the horn had gone missing somewhere in the folds of the Phoenix. We sat back and waited at the first bridge in the Montlake Cut, deciphering the messages painted onto the bulkheads lining the channel. Statements of team spirit and Husky pride. This is the edge of the University of Washington campus, where I went to college. Where I learned more about who I didn’t want to be than who I did want to be.
It struck me that so much of life is spent waiting. When we decide we want something, it doesn’t generally come to us right away. We have to work for it. We have to save the money, find the one, get the degree, land the dream job, score the contract, gestate the baby. Perhaps only love and the absence of love can transpire immediately.
As we waited for the bridge, I told Emile and Giovanna to call out “open sesame!” Which they did repeatedly. A moment later, the coastguard arrived with a horn. After that, the subsequent bridges expected us and we didn’t have to wait again.
I could see a parallel between these bridges and real life: you have to wait and work for what you want, but once you crack the code, all you need is to use this momentum to keep moving forward. Like when you have a baby. You wait 9 months to meet that baby, and when he comes out screaming, you’ve crossed the first bridge. The first of many. In show business, this is called the big break or the break-out role. But you’re not going to win that Oscar unless you keep working hard. This can even be said of buying a house. Once you’ve achieved the stability to purchase real estate, barring a financial crisis or depression or recession, you’ll always be able to own your home. If you decide to move or upgrade, the equity in your old house will help you buy another.
I know all of you have dreams. Some buried, some conspicuous. Some shallow, some deep. Some near, some far. If we had turned our boat around that day and given up, we’d have missed out on a beautiful holiday weekend.
So never give up. Tell those bridges to open. Ask and wait and ask and wait. Until they let you through.