Ghost Ship


I wrote this after talking to a dear friend of mine with three kids who has been married for a long time. It has been a hard road for her. She started crying and said “Kate, you don’t know how much I envy your life.” At first I bristled. I envy other people’s lives so much, how could anyone envy mine? But it got me thinking. I do have a beautiful life, and I do have things in my life I could never have without a family, no matter how much I don’t want to admit it. I have been more positive about my life ever since then, and am trying to walk on a journey towards “home.” Hope you enjoy it.

For many years, I spent my life on the shore, watching, waiting.

Like a million stories told through a hundred generations, I was searching the horizon, looking for someone to come home to me. A companion to walk with. A witness to my life.

I imagined that we would meet on the shore in a glorious homecoming. He would run towards me and spin me around, making me dizzy with his love. That would be the moment that all the minutes before had led up to, the moment that all the minutes after would never forget.

We would walk hand in hand down the road marked out for us. And when we reached our destination, we would build up our love story around us like a warm shelter.

But years passed. No matter how hard I looked, no matter how fervently I prayed, I did not see that ship coming in. I clenched my cold hands and continued watching on the waterfront, dreaming of the beautiful phantom life that was not mine.

I stood shivering on the shore for a long time. I began to realize that the ship, the parallel existence that I had hoped to start living long ago, was a ghost ship. It was perfect, but only because it was elusive. It was beautiful, but only because it was not really there.

I am cold now. I am ready to go somewhere that will hide me from the storm. And so I have a choice-to stay here and watch or to step away from the waiting. Perhaps for a little while, perhaps for the rest of my life. I have a choice turn my head from the sea and take a slow walk towards a home that I can build for myself right now, today. A decision that will be a beginning and an ending all at once.

The road will be unspeakably beautiful and deeply painful, just like the journey I would have walked in my parallel life. It will be full of love and full of loneliness, just as it would have been on the sister ship that I never got to ride.

In the end, the path I walk on might not lead me to a home with the arms of a husband or the laughter of children, a reality that may always be difficult for me.

But I can still put flowers in a vase so I can remember small, beautiful things. I can still bake bread and hear laughter around the table. I can still build a fire and press my face against the window pane, welcoming the lonely traveler home.

I can wait for that ghost ship forever, or I can go home and build something beautiful. It may never be easy. The longing may never go away.  But perhaps God will teach me how to long and let go at the very same time.

In the end, I don’t want to live in a parallel life that will disappear if I try to touch it. I want to walk out the tangible story that God has set before me today.

Even if  I never find the love story that I anticipated, I might find a love story that I didn’t expect. A different kind of love story.

A story that leads me home.

What dreams have you had that never came true?

How did you respond to those unmet desire?

Do you think you can long and let go at the same time?

10 thoughts on “Ghost Ship

  1. Love this post. This is how I think about it: I can either go through my life unhappy, bitter, and discontent about something I don’t have, which doesn’t change that reality; or I can go through the same life happy, content, and making the most out of it I can. My reality won’t change either way but I sure will enjoy the second way more, and be far more of a blessing to others! Bless you Kate.

  2. Great post. 🙂 Yes, I believe that you can most definitely long for and let go of something/someone at the same time. This is a lot of what the Lord has been teaching me lately, especially regarding the guy I’m in love with. I long for and deeply desire a relationship with this person, but he is not in a place right now to be able to accept that love. (In fact, I think he’s kinda terrified of the idea that I could care for him that much…) So even though I long for fulfillment of my dreams in being in a healthy romantic relationship with him, the Lord has been teaching me that I have to let go, trust, pray, and continue to follow where He is leading me (whether or not that includes the guy.) Letting go is hard.Real, true love is hard. Learning to put someone’s needs before mine (especially when I am not seeing mine met at all by them) is hard. But I choose to believe lessons I have learned/am learning are worth it. I choose joy. I choose to trust in the Lord, especially when I don’t understand. 🙂

  3. Kate, I don’t think it has to be either/or scenario. As you start walking away from the shore you might run into someone worth dating–you never know. I see your point it to make the most of your life no matter if you are married or single…..I don’t know. Perhaps I am projecting too much of what I want onto your story. I am not happy as a single woman and perhaps the idea of thinking that I can only find love on a shore and nowhere else and walking away means never finding it–it is just too unbearable at this point.

  4. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably. As always, you pull my heart strings. And make me think. To year I’ve been trying to embrace the present calling, while also feeling freedom to explore who God has made me to be and what to do with my desires and gifts. No easy answers, but mostly, I’m learning to enjoy Him.

  5. Thank you for this and for meeting me where I am. My longings for a mate are very much real and at the same time I’m also learning to let go and live in the story God has written for me. Today. Right now. “Learning” is the operative word. 🙂 I don’t want to miss living in today simply because I’m longing for tomorrow and what may come. Pretty soon, tomorrow becomes another today and I don’t want to miss that too — if that makes sense. It’s a hard good place we’re in, I think. But God remains faithful. I’m learning that He can still be trusted even in the midst of this tension.

  6. You wrote this just so I would comment didn’t you? ; )
    I love you! It’s so crazy because I was thinking today how I was going to text you and tell you that I’m thinking about you and enjoyed our weekend together and then I thought how lame that is and I just need to call you and say it at the very least voice to voice and then I thought I didn’t have time to do that and then…I read this when I got home today! I am crying tears of joy for you TK. So thankful that I get to be a part of your journey and you a part of mine. The slogan “One Day at a Time” keeps going through my head after reading that. I think that’s good for both of us. Let’s not let more than a year go by again before we see each other. I will call you this weekend!!’
    Love you.

  7. Hi Kate,
    Corrie suggested your blog to me, as it seems we are living somewhat parallel lives. As I settled down to look for a job (UGH, the WORST), I took a peek at this first. Super interesting because I feel like just in the last two weeks, I have felt this same challenge. For so long, I’ve felt certain that I would eventually have a husband and family, but that doesn’t make it a reality. Time continues to move, and I creep closer to an age where childbearing would be difficult. I want to really be living for this moment and these relationships (non-romantic as they may be), not a hypothetical future moment. I feel that I must surrender those things, even though I may still want them very, very much. That’s where I’m at.

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