There is a little dive of a place, on the water, where we like to eat. It is the kind of place that locals know and love. A safe place to get a cold drink, good seafood and catch up with old friends. And it is also the kind of place where vacationers can grab a great sunset selfie, while finishing a bucket of beer and a pound of peel-and-eat shrimp. Oh, and buy themselves a T-shirt on the way out, to wear back home.
Nobody would ever or will ever simply stumble upon this din of nourishment for both body and soul. For it is tucked in the back, way off the beaten path. It is nestled between the docks and the storage buildings of a marina. In fact, it is so close to the water that even a car or two has been known to reside in the channel, instead of the parking lot.
The marina is filled with boats. Some are simply passing through. Locations like Delaware, LaBelle and Palm Beach on their sterns. A spot of respite on a much longer journey. These nomads are moored right next to boats that have actually put down some roots. For them life isn’t about the voyage. Life is all about alarm clocks, showers, late night star gazing and landlubbing.
One particular boat, in this marina, is what you would call a globetrotter in training. Yes, it is docked as a permanent resident. But, this resident is planning, preparing and training for a life on the open sea. It is a 42-foot sailboat named “Three Hour Tour”, that is owned by a recent transplant from Ohio named Jake. How do I know this fact? Because Jake was also our waiter on one special Monday evening.
See, Jake, who is recently divorced, has always dreamed of life on a sailboat. He has always dreamed of exploring the world. Stopping here or there to make some money, get supplies or fix his boat. A life of following the sun, the currents and the breeze. Apparently, a dream of a life that was not at all shared by his now ex-wife.
He began his search for the perfect boat. He wanted a used boat, a used sail boat to be exact. It needed to be the right size and the right price. For what he lacked in funds, he more than made up for in aspirational perspiration. Thus, he knew that it would need to be a fixer-upper. Something that didn’t worry Jake, for he was good with his hands and he loved to tinker and build.
For Jake, it came down to three boats. One in New Hampshire, one in Virginia and one in Englewood, Florida. He decided to purchase the one in Englewood. So, one day Jake quit his job, sold his belongings, packed what little possessions he had left and he headed south to meet the newest member of his family.
As luck would have it, his new home/boat was docked at a Marina that was also the home of a little dive of a place. And this little dive of a place was seeking people to serve both the locals and the vacationers, buckets of beer and peel-and-eat-shrimp. Knowing that he had about two to three years of needed investment into making his new boat sea worthy, as well as making his bank account sea worthy. He decided to try his hand at waiting tables. After all, he would live within twenty steps of where he would work.
As I sat there listening to Jake talk about his Portuguese heritage and his desire to see his homeland. As I listened to his plans to explore the Mediterranean, sail around the horn of Africa and winter in Fiji, I couldn’t help but smile. Not because I was secretly longing to exchange my life with Jake’s. For the only sailing around the world that I would ever consider doing would be with a captain and a crew.
I smiled because I was in the presence of someone who knew what they wanted and was willing to do whatever needed to be done in order to make it happen. Jake was being Jake, unapologetically. Jake was being Jake with enthusiasm and I could see a sense of completeness in his eyes. Yes, he was serving tables at a dive in Englewood, Florida. A job at which many people would look down their nose. But it was simply one piece in a much larger puzzle. The puzzle that is his dream to take way more than a three-hour tour around the world.
So, here’s to all the Jake’s out there. People who are unapologetically and enthusiastically being themselves. People who have a dream and are chasing that dream. Doing crazy things like moving to Florida, buying a sailboat and working in a local dive. All to make their dreams come true. People who are taking steps to be all that God has created them to be. Even if nobody else understands or agrees.
And here’s to all of the potential Jake’s out there. The people who have dreams. Dreams that are only living on the top shelf of their closets or in the folded, yellowing pages of their personal journals. People who know who God has created them to be. But are afraid to actually do anything in order to be who they know God has created them to be.
To Jake, may the wind always be at your back. Never lose you. And your passion to be all that God has created you to be. To all of the potential Jake’s out there. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. What can you do today to begin to live into your dreams? To begin to be who God has created you to be?