Saturday, 3 March 2012

Sailing through life together

This is a very slightly cropped version of a painting by an artist called Jonathan Robertson, which was exhibited at Thompson's Gallery in Aldeburgh in 2010. I've photographed it from the catalogue. The painting is titled Voyage.

I think the meaning of this picture is perfectly plain and unambiguous. Here is a man and his woman. They are sitting together in a modest little boat. They are simply dressed, and neither is beautiful, but these things don't matter because they have each other and share a grown-up love. Both have a hand on the tiller, and they are steering together; but while he is keenly alert, she has her eyes closed, and is resting her head on his shoulder: she trusts him absolutely to choose the right course, the safe course. And you can see from his strong jaw and his eyes that her trust is not misplaced. The little boat is cleaving its way through a serene sea; there is blue sky above; and although the clouds are building up, they do not look threatening. At the prow is the face of a proud and confident-looking sun god, with golden hair and golden wings, the very soul of the little boat, a guarantee that even if the man and his woman fall asleep, this entity will get them home. It is the ideal dream of sailing through life together.

What most strikes me about this painting is the way the woman has surrendered the steering to the man, and the obvious trust between them. I ask myself: how does one achieve that state of surrender, that willingness to place trust in someone else so completely? I can't do it. Does that make me inadequate, or just different? Don't misunderstand me: I really like this picture, and would happily have it in my home. It makes me feel good, and it's so comforting. But I simply can't imagine myself in that little boat, as that woman. Nor as that man, on whom everything depends. So where am I in that picture?

Where am I at all?


  1. How does anyone put all their trust in someone else? I do that every day of my life Lucy, I put all my trust in Jesus. I know what you are saying but it is all down to having a deep relationship with the other person, getting to know them intimately and as you do you find that you are able to place even your life in their care. This is real love between two people. This is why I can place not only my trust but my faith and hope in Jesus. Even though E and I are divorced I am able to say that I can trust her unreservedly and she lnows that she can trust me. You say you cannot place your trust in someone else. I find that hard to believe. I imagine from that statement that you have yet to meet that person in whom you can place your complete trust but what do I know? It may just be a rhetorical remark. Love

    Shirley Anne xxx

  2. Perhaps you have not met the right man yet?

  3. Think of this as moment in time. At the moment she trusts her "man" to guide the boat thur the waters. When I'm driving the car my wife is passenger, and she trusts me to make the trip safe. Consider, the painting could also indicate her devotion and love expressed to her partner.

  4. I'm reminded of the Bette Midler song:
    Did you ever know that you're my hero?
    You're everything I wish I could be.
    I could fly higher than an eagle,
    'cause you are the wind beneath my wings

    It's a sentiment that my wife identifies with. I've always been her 'hero', her security. Whether I can continue to be so as her 'heroin' is one of the big challenges we face.


  5. All the comments are wonderful.

    But I would have to pick Shirley Anne's as the best~as that is my exact position with my Lord Jesus Christ. I live every day knowing that Jesus is in control of my life because I have given my life to Him.

    As always~I will continue to pray for you as I do for all my sisters.

    Hugs and Prayers,



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