.Finding Meaning on a Ship of Fools

Life is like a journey aboard a steamship. We did not ask to be here, and we can’t get off until the captain says so. 

No one has ever seen the captain, and no one knows why this is even happening, but a few can point us in the right direction. The journey is the same for everyone, starting with birth and ending with death, and the point of it seems to be how we choose to spend our time on board.

Some were given first-class accommodations, while others are in steerage. Some rise to a better room through good works, while others are booted down if they prove unworthy of their privilege. We make the best with what we’ve got, and in the end everyone has a spot to call their own—and this is called having a life.

We can wander the ship and interact with others, who represent the spectrum of humanity. Some are saints and sages, and others are devils and demons—so remember two pieces of golden wisdom. First, the devil’s greatest ruse is convincing us he doesn’t exist, and second, vice is never more dangerous than when hiding behind a mask of virtue.

Almost all the passengers spend their time in the bowels of the ship, where the only light that shines is artificial. There are endless entertainments to distract us from the journey, and an all-you-can-eat buffet of bad food to gorge upon gluttonously. Many have never even been on deck before to experience the wonder of the starry night and vast ocean.

A few solitary souls, however, like to visit a special observation deck at the highest point on the ship. In the morning, they greet the sun, bringer of light and life, and at night, the moon, which points the way to the eternal realm beyond the confines of the ship. If we ask, they will tell us of a secret compartment on board the ship, a library of sacred books from around the world and a place to receive illumination. Those who find it are never the same again, and one look in their eyes shows that they know something others do not.

Most of the passengers mock these quiet solitaries and call them fools. But when someone finds the sea too stormy and the entertainment too empty, they ask about the secret chamber, and they are always told the same thing. No one can tell us where it is, because it’s different for everyone. But if we seek it, we will find it, and if we knock, the door will be opened.

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