(From the Community Caregiving Journal 3-word prompt Failure, Spot, Horizon.)

1. I am not a failure because I am the person who shows up.

2. Ancient mapmakers who could not see over the horizon wrote, "Here be dragons." Sometimes my horizon is just off our ship's prow and I can hear the dragons hiss, even when they are impossible to spot.

3. Sometimes my horizon stretches out interminably, regardless of where I steer. I just need to keep sailing.

4. So far, neither my partner nor I have drowned on this long voyage. Parts of it may seem like failure, but we have stayed afloat. This is success.

5. I have learned to spot my partner's storms and practice ways of remaining becalmed.

6. Some ports of call are rife with failure that I cannot spot until I have dropped anchor. But anchors can be lifted, and tides turn.

7. Other ports of call give me safe harbor and the blessed company of fellow travelers.

8. Sometimes a spot on the horizon is only a mirage. Sometimes it is better for me to wait for the sun angle to change, than to try to wrest the wheel away.

9. Sometimes I must wrest the wheel away, courting a smaller failure so as not to smash on the rocks.

10. In the middle of the ocean, a ship's captain is also the ship's doctor, and possesses sea legs that the doctors in port do not. The doctors in port are limited by a fixed horizon.

11. The same distant spot can look like Leviathan to one and like a dolphin to another. We do what we can with the spyglass we have.

12. Failure of courage is an occupational hazard. Sometimes I just have to batten down the hatches and hold on.

Sunrise on Daytona Beach, October 2005.

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