I have spent the past week after Hurricane Irma shut the town down* watching Pirates of the Caribbean again. My son was finally old enough to brave the skeletons of the first movie, Curse of the Black Pearl – though he still preferred to let me handle the second movie with its eerie fish creatures on my own. The later ones will have to wait until I have more down time again.
Our whole family agreed that we are all far too law-abiding to be pirates. That’s not really a surprise. But what was surprising to me is how much that saddened me. Not the law-abiding part, but I did find myself wanting to be a pirate. What a crazy ambition for an old wife and mom like me!
But instead of pushing it down, I took some time to pray about it – clearly there was some message in that decade old movie that I did not experience the first time around.
I realize that a big part of it is the idea of freedom as it is presented in that movie. When Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann are marooned on an island by his former crew, they talk about what his ship, The Black Pearl means to him. He equates the ship not with wood and iron, but with freedom.
Here’s Jack’s quote (between 2:04 & 2:36 here)
“Wherever we want to go, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails. That’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is – what the Black Pearl really is – is freedom.”
My husband and I have been having long conversations about freedom lately. It’s a value he places a high priority on, but I have not always claimed as important to me. But it turns out, I want to be a pirate – to have the freedom to go wherever we want to go and maybe more important to me, to be whatever I want to be – not as a job or a role, but as a person. I want to claim that in many ways I am “weird” and “not-cool” and certainly not “all-put-together-all-the-time” like I try to act.
I think my son has a different and more wonderful experience than many children. This weekend as we discussed this, he said he really didn’t feel like his classmates pick on him because he is different. That was not my experience. I was bullied a lot as a child. And I never learned to roll with it – I always wanted to be someone else, someone who was so normal that she never was picked on. Someone who was not so… me.
But part of aligning my spirit and my external life is claiming that inner “me” who is exactly who God has created me to be. That’s part of what I can do as a spiritual director for my clients. I want no less freedom for myself.
I don’t want to be Captain Jack Sparrow – I don’t think my liver can handle it, and I really don’t like rum. I probably have more in common with Will Turner, but I don’t have the muscles and the sword skills to be a pirate like him either. And Elizabeth Swann has me beat hands down in both the beauty and bravery department, I think. But for now, I’ll still dream to be a pirate – a very weird pirate who is a little reserved, not all that money-hungry, rather likes following the rules, and can never remember port from starboard, but a pirate who claims being weird as a good thing. It certainly keeps life – even my fairly traditional land-locked life – from being boring!
What movies have caused you to think about something more or in a new way recently? Do you have a secret ambition—like being a pirate – that is a little silly, but still might tell you something about what you value? If you’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean, which character(s) are you like? In what ways do you think you are “weird”? Is this a comfortable question for you? Has bullying played a role in your life?
I can’t help you be a real pirate, but I can help you look more deeply at yourself so you can be successful whatever you decide to do in life. Contact me here if you want more information on spiritual direction or coaching.
* Fortunately there was very little damage in Savannah and we were only without power at my house for a few hours. We are praying for all those who have been hit much harder by this storm and so many other natural and man-made disasters recently.