Remona Aly
Thursday 01 December 2022 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Safe shores, setting sail

Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

Safe shores, setting sail


As you know Zoe, I’ve recently got into South Korean rap, pop and hiphop, and I was scrambling to watch the World Cup opening ceremony live in Qatar just to see BTS’s Jungkook perform the official “Dreamers” song.

It’s an uplifting, aspirational tune, but what struck me is how the song features a famous hymn that sailors in the Arabian Gulf used to sing before starting their journey across the open seas, sailing into the wide unknown.

When I was born on a cold winter’s night – a rotund, prune faced little thing – my dad recited the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, softly into my ear. It was my first hymn for life, marking my embarkment on a path of faith and trust. 

But the path hasn’t always taken me through calm waters. I didn’t know that beyond the early waves of joy and oblivion, unexpected tests and upheavals lay ahead. 

I thought I had life mapped out, not knowing destiny had drawn its own map for me. I followed the lines expecting a smoother journey, but I was diverted into troubled times when I lost my way, when I lost people close to me, and when I lost a sense of myself.

It’s almost unbelievable, how within hours, even minutes, your life can sway from hope to disillusionment. A simple call or message telling you, your prayer wasn’t answered, this wasn’t meant for you, or the love you thought you had is gone, can leave you feeling shipwrecked.

But I reckon every rough sea has the promise of land. Every fall gives me a chance to rebuild myself from the ruins, but none of that can happen, unless I step out into the unknown, embrace uncertainty and not be afraid to truly live. 

 The thirteenth century Persian Muslim poet, Sa’adi, said, “In the sea, there are countless treasures. But if you desire safety, it is on the shore.”

If I had stayed on the shore of my life, too fearful of risks, too worried about putting myself out there, I would never have known how treasures are also hidden in the trials. 

So, I’ll keep stepping out, singing like a Dreamer, and carry on through this journey of life until the final anchor falls.


To listen click here Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show