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.

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39 thoughts on “Coincidence, Boats, and a Chance to Walk on Water

  1. Thank you for your beautiful example. Your words have comforted, encouraged, and strengthened. They have also made us laugh. We are right there dog paddling with you. My husband left his 30 year career, after 3 of our children were diagnosed with Type1diabetes. Our precious son Caleb was then diagnosed with bone cancer. Thank you for the hope your example gives us. We do not take a day for granted.

  2. Congratulations, Mark! I have no doubt you will be amazing in this role. What a wonderfully brave thing to do. But as a person who also left a stable business to follow my passion full time, it’s definitely worth it. 🙂

  3. Mark,

    Our family will be praying for your new journey. We will pray boldly that through your new position you will influence many for the Kingdom as well as raise awareness and cure for childhood cancer. Kylie would be so proud and I can close my eyes and see her sweet face beaming.

    Much love,
    The Bartletts
    Tony, Kellie, Jacob, Brett, Allie and Trent

    1. Thank you, Kellie. The spiritual is certainly an aspect of this that I don’t minimize. I hope you’ve seen her new website. We try to share that she was defined by her faith and not her cancer. Blessings to my Bartlett friends.

  4. Congrats brother on the new mission. Let’s me just say this. Most of us who took the leap out of the boat did do because we had too for whatever reason. But, after six years I’m still afloat and have a sense of freedom I did not have in the daily 9-5. Follow your passion and the results will follow. Proud of you for taking the leap.

  5. Mark Myers, you are an amazing man. Congratulations, and thank you for getting out of the boat. We’re there for you, Robin and the kids if we can help?

  6. Congrats Mark! I am truly happy that you get to work in the fight against childhood cancer. God bless your journey. Also, thank you again for your writing, I too have been deciding if I should jump, you have helped me with my decision.

  7. Mark, WOW JUST WOW!!! Good luck to you and your family always!! I think of all your blogs, the beautiful, meaningful words, that made me think long after Infinished reading. I always had a few favorites going at the same time. However today the one title AND JESUS WEPT will always mean the most to me. Margy

    1. Thank you. That one is important to me too. The sermon I heard talked about Job’s three friends. They often get a bad rap, but for the first seven days they had it absolutely right. They came and silently sat down in he ashes with Job. Their problems started when they opened their mouths.

  8. I am speechless from all of your accomplishments in the last few years. So excited for this new step because of the promises it holds and the effect of your climbing out of your comfort zone to where the real fight is. God bless and keep you. Thanks for taking Kylie’s instructions literally! Prayer, prayer, and more prayer will be the bedrock of your endeavors!

  9. All I can say is A W E S O M E!!! Good for you Mark. I’m one of those people that has the passion and hasn’t lived in a boat for over 16 years now. It’s wonderful. It certainly builds the muscle of faith, that’s for sure.
    This is a wonderful write, and a testament of God’s care and direction.
    Here’s to a new adventure and great changes in your life.
    🙂

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