“Throughout this period of exploration, trips are beset by the unforeseen. Frobisher’s ship is frozen in Hudson Bay. Columbus is told by natives in what is now Panama that there is another large body of water on the other side of the Isthmus, but he must meet another ship and has to leave it to Balboa to discover the Pacific. Verrazano ventures out of the range of the long bows on his ship and is captured and killed by cannibals in the West Indies…Drake, after navigating the Magellan Straits, is driven south, off course, and discovers the tip of South America, but his fate does not always come up “heads.” When he passes the Golden Gate, the fog keeps him from discovering San Francisco Bay. The most serendipitous event of all, of course, is the discovery of America itself. After all, Columbus was really trying to reach Japan, and he died thinking he had.”
(from Edwin Friedman, A Failure of Nerve)
These explorers were met by disaster. But, they took the risks. Those same explorers were willing to make choices that challenged them, were willing to be wrong, because the risks were greater than the rewards. They couldn't see or anticipate all that would befall them; they had to be willing not just to focus on what they could see, but have vision. So it is with us. We could wait passively, or we could make the choice ourselves, we could take the risk, choose a path, accept that we may stumble, that we may fail, but also live a life of vision and meaning.