Relaxing Grief into Wisdom – 4 By Jim Surkamp

We each choose to be Ahab or Ishmael. . .

To see the beautiful video of part 4 of Relaxing Grief into Wisdom – Click Here.

We each choose to be either Ahab or Ishmael from the book, Moby Dick. Ahab lost his leg to the whale, the master of the imponderable deep.

Ahab became an emotional hostage to that event, tempted into becoming a slave to his rage. Inappropriate ego, often the source of our self-destruction, kept him from accepting the lessons of loss on terms that were not his own.

Ahab pursued the whale, bringing on his mad quest not only his skills and poisoned plan, but a boatload of innocent sailors, in callous disregard for all. “My grief is the greatest in all humanity!” was Ahab’s proud oath.

Ahab’s prescription for grief resulted in his being swallowed up by it.

Ishmael, on the other hand, was humble enough to accept his place in the scheme of life, birth, death, and humanity. He is found afloat and rescued after all others have perished at Ahab’s mad hand. Ishmael is clinging for life to a wooden coffin made personally for him by a sailor. He embraces his mortality as wholeheartedly as he embraced his birth, realizing that life and death are two sides to the same thing. Free of anguish and no longer avoiding that truth, his heart and mind become one, a thing clear and unafraid of what will come tomorrow. Ishmael floats humbly into a new life, his grief a small sad scar, into an eternity of his own.