Friday, February 5, 2021


 "The Winds of Fate"

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the seas are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through the life:
Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem "The Winds of Fate" has always been a favorite of mine. I came across it while investigating what it means to "journey" through life, particulary the faith journey. I'd been through many things, and I had so many questions about life. I've learned a couple of critical things that have helped me along the way, and things I believe can help any of us as we travel the landscapes of our lives: 

1. Winds blow from every direction.
Life's "winds"do also. We can either get blown away by them, or we can option to spread our wings and soar confidently in the direction of our issues and problems, knowing that we can save ourselves from being carried away in a fierce gust of life that could land us in a place of destruction. We can make the choice depending on our approach and attitude, as the poem so beautifully states: 'tis the set of the sail' which will take us in the best directions. We can look with gloom, or we can take a faith-filled, positive, opimistic view of what's ahead.

2. It is through our journey that we learn to tighten our ropes of faith. It doesn't happen overnight, or with our first, second, third or fourth difficulty in life. Winds vary, and problems do as well. Sometimes we can recognize and anticipate challenges that lie before us, but in most cases that isn't so. Varying problems bring varying challenges, as well as varying possibilities. We don't know what to do until we have to figure out what to do. Our hearts must be fixed on the possibilities. Our minds must be focused on all potential for survival. Our souls must be "set" in the direction of our goals, whatever that may mean or be.

3. Life's winds must be handled by maneuvering and mastering our emotional responses to our challenges. Ella Wheeler Wilcox says that it's neither the 'calm or the strife" that gets us through the stormy winds; it's because we anchored ourselves with the determination necessary for our journeys, the boldness necessary for standing firm against every 'east or west' wind that comes our way. Very often our emotions will take us in self-defeating directions, and we must be careful to avoid coasting on those winds and waves.

I hope you will let the words and the meaning of the poem sink in. You can be assured that regardless of the ways of the winds, you will learn to soar upon the stormy waters of life, without ever sinking because of them. ~ S.R.F.