I Sent You a Boat…!

     I heard a story yesterday, and it may be one that everyone else has already heard and it just got around to me.     A similar fable probably exists in the moral portfolio of every religion and SHOULD be in the coal-car of every train of spiritual thought.

(And Yes, the picture above is a real stretch, but I had to illustrate with something that I had shot….!!)

The story…

     A man is floating in deep water in the aftermath of a flood. A rowboat approaches and the occupants cry, “Get in! We’ll take you to dry land!”

     The man replies, “No, no…Thank you, I have an unwavering Faith that God will save me!”

     He has ‘dog-paddled’ for another hour when a life raft almost full to capacity comes into view and these aquatic sojourners also exclaim, “We’re coming….hold on! We can make room for you!”

Again, our tiring but faithful protagonist replies,

     “Thank you, but I don’t need your help. God will reach down His hand and save me when He is ready.”

     About an hour after the raft has disappeared, with its shrugging seafarers, the man tires, slips under the waves and drowns.

     Upon reaching the Pearly Gates he asks of God, “I have always had such Faith in You. Why did You not save me?”

     To which God replies,

“Dude…I sent you a boat…..TWO boats….!! C’mon!!”

We can’t see the forest for the trees.

We wouldn’t see a rock if we stubbed our toe on it… wouldn’t know a snake if it bit you…

     How many other times and ways has this been said? …Countless….


(and I DO place myself amongst the WE…sometimes…)

have given up personal responsibility by resting the encumbrance of accountability on the broad illusory shoulders of society….

or as in the case of this story….in the all encompassing covert hands of God.

     It’s one thing to rest your cares and worries in the Almighty or to trust that the ‘village’ of mankind will provide a comfort.

     It’s something entirely different to think, “Somebody will clean my mess up….Not my job!  It’s not really a mess anyway!”

     I remember, several years ago, wandering through a used book store when the spine of a book that had been written by the then wife of a televangelist caught my eye.

     I picked it up and opened to a random page and there she had written,

“When I go to the grocery store, before I walk in, I say the prayer,

“Jesus, show me the bargains!”

     I immediately realized why so many are ‘turned off’ by the showy dogma of  some proselytizers of organized religion. This person who professed an ‘unwavering’ faith, had just proven that she was no longer accepting responsibility for her actions or her intelligence.

She was not practicing blind Faith,

She was wearing Faith blinders.

     Not to take anything away from Faith! I have personally seen miracles.

Generally they were brought about by Faith…

And extremely hard work on the part of the Faithful….

          On the other hand we likewise,  too often,  undertake to lay the basket of blame on the steps of someone or something virtually unrelated to us.  Find a scapegoat!

     I fear that we are becoming a world flooded by a deluge of concepts centering on ‘collective’ salvation

AND collective conscience, and we don’t acknowledge The Boat.

     It’s never our fault or our problem, it belongs to someone else, or to ALL of us.

We try to be above it by holding our breath and hiding below it…and we wind up drowning in our own ignorance and fear.

( It’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to fear, it’s okay to question motives…MOST particularly our own.  The sometimes frightening thing about questions is that they have answers!)

     There’s a Navajo story that I remember from my childhood that went something like,

     “The conscience is a hard-cornered triangle that floats inside your heart.  Every time you do something wrong, the triangle spins wildly and the sharp corners cause a pain in your heart. As you do more wrong, the corners wear down, until eventually the points become rounded and, along with the callouses that have built within your heart, the pain that you feel is diminished.

Your conscience ceases to be a deterrent for wrong-doing.”

Are we giving up our own triangles for a collective triangle?

     Automobiles are now being designed that tell you when you are over the center line, or if a car has stopped in front of you. To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, “If you don’t know you have crossed the center line or you can’t see that a truck has stopped in front of you….GET OFF THE ROAD!”

Are we giving up personal responsibility?

What happens if you are driving one of these cars and you have an accident?

I think we all know what happens….Law-suits…

 against the car manufacturer….

…Not MY fault, the car was supposed to tell me what to do, to guide me from danger!  That’s what the commercial said!”

     It is oh so common for the perpetrator of a crime (or his attorney) to use the defense,

“I had a hard childhood”….

“I was MADE to….because….you don’t understand…, etc., etc, ad nauseam.”

“I murdered twelve people because my first grade teacher used a red pen to mark on a test that I didn’t study for”

     Should there not be a ‘Statute of Limitations’ on what we can attribute anti-social behavior to?

We either have laws which relate to all, or we have…anarchy…

Sadly, we are becoming a population of  ‘nihilist enablers’.

     Is that possibly because that makes us then feel less guilt for our OWN actions?..

Or is it simply easier for our personal consciences to swallow guilt if we mix in that sugary spoonful of societal assent?  (Say that with a mouthful of crackers!)

     Do we allow the absolution of actions for any reason, justified or not, to soften the corners of our own triangle?

Is it THAT simple?

     He ‘got off’ for armed robbery because his grandmother made him stand in a corner, so it’s not so bad that I steal from work because I saw MY father run over a squirrel once….


     It won’t hurt the bank that they gave me $50 too much in change….they’re a BIG company!!!

     I use this example because I sent  the $50 back through the drive-thru vacuum machine and said,

“You might want to re-count this.”

Does that make me a Saint or something?

Absolutely not!

     It merely makes me someone who understands the difference between right and not right.

If I had been ‘shorted’ the fifty bucks, you can bet I would have called it to someone’s attention…

So shouldn’t it play both ways?

And besides,

     I have no desire to have another confrontation with that ‘stupid’ triangle…

…Not worth the pain…

Okay, I’m stepping down off the soap-box..

Next up?!…

Lessee, photography… This month I have the Sumner MS Walk,  Nashville’s Mayor signing the “Anti-Discrimation Act”, another Lifeway ‘recipe’ session, the FlashBus Workshop, and the Curb Racing 500th Nascar entry, along with several soccer clubs who like the image from the TNFC  evening, AND I get to put together a proposal for hopping on the Don Williams Tour for a few days…

So, to ‘finish this off’

Relax…breathe the air…it IS all good, though sometimes we get in the way of recognizing it.

Don’t miss the boat!!!!!!!!!!


~ by rkpowers on April 1, 2011.

3 Responses to “I Sent You a Boat…!”

  1. You have touched on one of my pet peeves – when people blame everything else for their troubles. The apostle Paul wrote “examine yourself” but most of us today would rather expend our energy examining someone else. Thanks for a great post and continue thew good work.



  2. Things that are done, it is needless to speak about…things that are past, it is needless to blame.


  3. Great work, RKP. I agree with Pap. Funny he never let us blame anyone else, did he?????
    Love you words and cannot tell you how very proud I am to be your little sister.


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