My brothers and I used to paint houses in the summer to help pay for school. Being self-employed at a young age had certain perks but also some risk. We worked hard each day but always made sure we left in time to play basketball at the local park. A major perk! On the down side, we often ran out of jobs to do way too soon.
One summer we had run out of work and it was only the first week of July. One jobless afternoon, we were sitting on the stairway in our house having a group “pity party,” discussing whether or not we should accept a job offer from a “real” painting company in town. We didn’t want to work for someone else. My Mother was cleaning nearby and listening to us “strum our own violins”. She overheard my brother Steve, bemoan, “what are we gonna do now?…. our ship is sinking!”
My Mom couldn’t take it any longer. Never one to feel sorry for herself (or her kids), she yelled from the next room, “If I were you, I would get on a ship that is sailing.”
At that very second, my brothers and I had a moment of clarity. The summer job was only a means to an end… the real goal was to make enough money for the school year. We took the job offer later that day and consequently made enough money for school. In order to get what we wanted, we needed to get on a boat that could take us there.
As I contemplate where I want to go in my life today, I am hearing my mother’s voice again. It’s easy to find yourself on a boat filled with people, things, and work, not really going anywhere in particular, maybe heading the wrong direction, or even sinking! I know these boats too well.
It’s hard to jump from a familiar boat even when it’s leaking. It’s more natural to bail water. Yet, sometimes a sinking boat is a blessing in disguise. It’s THEN you have no choice but to jump, and swim to one that is sailing… this time, a boat sailing in the direction of your God given dream.
“Trust in the the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways aknowledge him and he will direct your path.” Prov. 3:5-6
Written by Dan Bailey: Writing Enthusiast & Director of Admissions at Nyack College