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Coincidence, Boats, and a Chance to Walk on Water

I peek over the edge and find the billowing blue ocean enticing, but scary.

Sit back down in the humdrum. Catch my breath. Look away. The wood floor of the boat holds strength, stability, and what is known. The boat is safe.

The sea… It is random. It swells and falls. It sucks some would-be swimmers underneath its whitecaps and waves.

 

But some walk outside the boat. Oh, how I envy them.

The bills are paid, the seas are calm, the boat is comfortable… After all, I have responsibilities.  And the waves rock me to sleep. Year after year.

 

I read a fantastic book a few years ago. It was so good I actually read it twice. It was the kind of book that challenges comfort zones and encourages leaps of faith. If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat spoke to me and I started looking for my chance to climb over the edge. A couple of international mission trips got me thinking of ways to climb out of the boat. Being cautious – I peeked, sat back down, and caught my breath.

The bills are paid, the seas are calm, the boat is comfortable… After all, I have responsibilities.  And the waves rock me to sleep. Year after year.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with stability. We all need some level of stability in our lives. I’m grateful for the blessings of a good job and a nice place to rest my aging bones. But some people seem to have a passion that overrides their need for an anchor. They gladly walk out onto the water and test their limits.

And sometimes, we have no choice in the matter. Sometimes we are chucked headlong into the water with no regard for our safety. Job loss, relationship turmoil, injury, sickness, death… Especially death. Those things push us out where we aren’t comfortable and test our ability to swim or confirm our propensity to sink. How long can you dog paddle?

Speaking of dogs, my wife and I were invited to the premiere of a video for an animal rescue initiative in California. It was an amazing event hosted by incredible people who are dedicated to a cause. We were invited to church on Sunday by one of these people and I remember saying as we walked into the church that I did not believe in coincidence. No coincidence. Hmmm. Okay – so let’s count the happenstance of the following hour.

  1. The pastor happened to be John Ortberg, the author of the aforementioned book.
  2. His sermon was entitled, “It’s Okay to Not be Okay,” during which he told the story of Job and his loss.
  3. He also talked about his own personal loss – his daughter’s recent loss of a baby.

 

I couldn’t get all of this out of my head. After all, having just been tossed headlong into the seas, I am not okay. I likely won’t ever be okay again. The pastor wasn’t speaking directly to me. He had no way of knowing about my loss of Kylie. In fact, he couldn’t know I would be in the congregation. Further, contrary to all that is wise but in line with the book he wrote years ago, I have just left my boat – my stable job of over twenty years to fight childhood cancer full time. I start on Monday as the Director of Communications for CURE Childhood Cancer. I am nervous, anxious, and utterly thrilled. I’ve stepped out of the boat to follow a passion I could never have dreamed I would have.

Let’s hope I can stay afloat.

The bills are paid, the seas are calm, the boat is comfortable…  And I’ve left it behind.