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  • Writer's pictureLisa Blair Fratzke

'X' Marks the Spot

I have always had an affinity for pirates. There are a few potential origins of this love.

It could have began because of my rebel heart as a child, my love for adventure or the fact that Pirates of the Caribbean was my favorite ride at Disneyland. Nevertheless, it was the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl that sealed the deal. When it came out in 2003, I saw it four times in the movie theater.

Regardless, of why I love pirates so much, the fact of the matter is that I do. A good pirate’s tale fills my heart with joy.

I should also further clarify that this love is for fictional pirates only. I know very little about the real ones, and am sure if I knew more, my love for these rambunctious characters would fade.

The hallmark of any good pirate story is the treasure map. And, as anyone familiar with treasure maps knows, “X” marks the spot where treasure can be found.

It turns out that real pirates may not have actually created maps of their treasure with this kind of specificity. More or less, it became popularized within fictional tales of pirates starting with Robert Lewis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island.

In a strange turn of events, this phrase was also used by the British Army in executions. They would write an “X” on a piece of paper and place it over a person’s heart. They used to say “X marks the spot” and shoot at the target.

There is a deep irony that X stands for a treasure that we seek to find and can also stand for our heart. Somehow, I feel like the two most be related.

Like buried treasure, our hearts can often feel allusive and hidden to us.

Our physical heart may be located on the left side of our chest, but the heart that fuels who we are and what we desire often seems much more difficult to locate. Like treasure, it is not so easily discovered.

Both treasure and our hearts are incredibly valuable and can create division or unity based on how they are used. Mostly, they can only be found by those who seek them.

At the end of the day, the treasure we thought was hidden behind the “X” may not be the rubies and gold that we thought we were looking for. Instead, the most valuable treasure we can seek may be our own heartbeat – pure and simple, and full of life.


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