Burn the ships

You may remember the commercial that said, “Not going anywhere for awhile? Grab a Snickers.”

I was thinking of this when I heard the song on the radio this week, Burn the Ships, by For King and Country.

You may have heard the story of Cortés and the burning of his ships. In the year 1519, Hernan Cortes arrived in the New World with six hundred men and, upon arrival, made history by destroying his ships. This sent a clear message to his men: There is no turning back. By burning the ships, he removed any available path back to the previous way, and everyone was as fully committed as he obviously was.

I remember hearing the story behind their song when it first came out. And here it is from and interview with Luke Smallbone.

“When my wife was pregnant with our second son, Phoenix, she was dealing with a lot of morning sickness. She went to the doctor, and he gave her some medicine to help with the nausea. I was out on the road a decent amount during that time. I noticed her behavior changed a little bit, but she was pregnant, so that’s not unusual.

One particular day, I was in Austin, Texas getting ready for a show that evening. She called me and said, “I need you to come home. I can’t stop taking these pills.” I asked my other brother, who was in town, to go be with Courtney and make sure she was okay. I got on a plane and came home.

As the night went on, she would start shaking and having these conversations like, “Maybe the doctors want me to just taper off, not stop taking these right away.” She was almost hallucinating. Of all the things I’ve experienced, I think that was the most difficult thing I’ve dealt with, because the next day I had to take her to a mental hospital.

When they called back, I got up to go be with her, like a normal doctor’s appointment, and they said, “No. You can’t come.” I felt so much grief in that moment. She had outpatient therapy every day. We actually had some amazing memories of that time. She excelled, she was doing great, but she still felt this pull to pills. One day I went home and she said, “Luke, I’ve got to symbolize something, I’ve got to flush these pills down the toilet. I’m done. I’m done with the guilt and the shame. I’ve got to move into a new way. A new life.”

When she was flushing those pills, the analogy of burning the ships came to me: the story of the sailors not wanting to explore the new world, wanting the comforts of their boats. Their leader calls them out and says, “We’ve got to burn the ships. This is a new world.”

The lyrics that have been playing over and over in my head are these:

We’ve got to
Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye

Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon the heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back

I know in my own life, there are few things I’m setting the match to. Drying my tears, dancing on my heartache, and waving goodbye. Then I can rise up from the dust where I have been living, and walk away. And no looking back. Because I know how well that worked out for Lot’s wife!

So I’m packing a bunch of Snickers in a bag, because I’m not going anywhere for a while. Because with my ships burning, I’m obviously fully committed. (I mean, who wouldn’t be, with a whole bag full of Snickers by their side!)

© 2023 Fluffy Puppy Publishing All Rights Reserved

25 thoughts on “Burn the ships

  1. I’ve heard the story of Cortez burning his ships. The second story was just as compelling. Most of us have “ships” at some point in our lives that we need to burn. Great post! Can I have my Snickers now?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Clever writing sister…putting Snickers in your first line means you have a captive audience! 😁
    I have been burning ships in my life in recent times; getting rid of lots of books which took up lots of my time – I don’t read worldly novels anymore.
    Great post sister…do I get a Snicker too?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful illustrations of leaving the past and embracing the present. It never works out well when we cling to the past and our secret or not so secret sins! It is time for advancement, while the ships burn and I eat a Snicker!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All I can think about is my first pregnancy. I had “all day and all night sickness”. The only thing that stopped the nausea was holding a tangerine to my nose (and sleeping). And that’s what I did, to my husband’s embarrassment, because I did it everywhere – grocery store, the mall, church, in the car, I took that tangerine with me everywhere. Glad those days are over.

    Liked by 1 person

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