The maurader

Maybe you’ve heard this one…

There was a treasure ship on its way back to port, ladened with gold, silver, and precious gems.  About halfway there, it was approached by a pirate ship, skull and crossbones waving in the breeze, intent on seizing its valuable treasure.

    "Captain, captain, what do we do?" implored the panicked first mate. 

    "First mate," said the captain calmly, "go to my cabin, open my sea chest, and bring me my red shirt."  The first mate did as he was told.

    Wearing his bright red shirt, the captain exhorted his crew to fight.  So inspiring was he, in fact, that the pirate ship was repelled without casualties. 

    A few days later, the ship was again approached, this time by two pirate sloops! 

    "Captain, captain, what should we do?" asked the first mate again, this time with greater urgency.

    "Bring me my red shirt!" the captain insisted.

    The crew, emboldened by their fearless captain, fought heroically, and managed to defeat both boarding parties, though they took some casualties.  That night, the survivors had a great celebration.  The first mate asked the captain the secret of his bright red shirt.

    "It's simple”, he said, “if I am wounded, the blood does not show, they see no weakness in me and the crew continues to fight without fear."

    A week passed, and they were nearing their home port, when suddenly the lookout cried that ten ships of the enemy's armada were fast approaching.

    "Captain, captain, we're in terrible trouble, what do we do?" the first mate pleaded and looked expectantly at the miracle worker.

    Pale with fear, the captain commanded, "Bring me my brown pants!"

As we sail through contemporary chaos, a looming marauder appears and approaches us at an accelerating pace.  It comes equipped with boarding parties ready to wreak havoc on our lives, plundering our precious safety, happiness, and security (so perceived).

It often can and does render us ineffective, stealing our confidence and emotional resources. 

It’s visceral.

You feel it in your bones.

The quivering of the minute hairs on the back of your neck hearken it’s arrival. The superficial muscles embedded beneath your skin begin to quiver. The skin itself is affected, with sweat easily oozing from its pores. The rush of adrenaline courses through even the smallest capillaries, causing the heart to beat violently, palpitating its reaction against the ribs.

Your breathing becomes frantic. Your mouth becomes dry and your senses crackle with every stimuli.  You can't sleep. Or if you do, you're dreams are uneasy, disconcerting. You are on high alert and on watch.

Fear has arrived…

Unlike scary movies or Halloween haunted houses, this is a fear we can’t control.  Nor do we seek it out.

It invades and debilitates.  We know there is no safe place, really. Not even home.

It’s known as a crunch time moment.  Its accompanying fear invades when you realize your life will never be the same again.

It is ominous as we stare it down and downright mean as we confront its sudden arrival:

• A routine check up with the doctor ends up revealing a devastating diagnosis,

        And so we wear our brown pants

• A lack of clarity or anything approaching unanimity on a host of political issues;

        And so we wear our brown pants

• Years of acquired wealth is precipitously diminished by an unprecedented economic downturn,

        And so we wear our brown pants

A new baby brings the prospect of renewed priorities and deliberate introspection about the future.

        And so we wear our brown pants
       
The list, of course, goes on, and the marauder continues to arrive in never ending waves…

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Posted in adaptation, Change, courage, Fear, tough times
2 comments on “The maurader
  1. Mayra says:

    I’ll bet everybody buys cats for you, right? When I had cats, all my fdiners and family would think, “Kay would like that” until I ended up with far too many cat things.These are very cute, though, especially the first one and the third one!– KKay, Alberta, CanadaAn Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Wow, how exciting! I can't wait to check out Content Magazine. Jonty & I have been working with an online mag too – it's called Vhcle. Check it out if you're not too busy being an awesome fashionista ;.)

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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