When 16 year old Abby Sunderland attempted to sail solo around the world and was dismasted in the Southern Ocean, I received a flood of emails asking my opinion about the appropriateness of a teenager sailing solo. I mostly evaded the question because I had no strong opinions either way. At that time, what matters only is that she survived, learned, and has become stronger because of it.
Recently four American sailors were killed at the hands of Somali pirates when they attempted to sail into dangerous waters that were known to be populated by pirates. Some opinions on the web are critical of their decision, saying that they were stupid to attempt that route.
There were four sailors aboard Quest. They had been traveling extensively in their sailboat to enjoy their retirement years, deliver bibles, and do missionary work in different parts of the world. The sailors were aware of the danger they were facing as they attempted to sail near Somalia.
I wonder if we can show respect to their lives by considering them brave instead of stupid, lucky instead of unfortunate.
Brave, perhaps, for taking such a large risk in order to fulfill their calling, and lucky to be called so strongly to do something that they were willing to risk everything. Imagine an existence so dynamic. Isn’t it that passion and verve that brings us to life?