A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, "Jump in, I can save you." The stranded fellow shouted back, "No, it's OK, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me." So the rowboat went on. Then a motorboat came by. "The fellow in the motorboat shouted, "Jump in, I can save you." To this the stranded man said, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith." So the motorboat went on. Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, "Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety." To this the stranded man again replied, "No thanks, I'm praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith." So the helicopter reluctantly flew away. Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, "I had faith in you but you didn't save me, you let me drown. I don't understand why!" To this God replied, "I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"
When a wave of crisis threatens to capsize our lifeboat or we have a gaping hole in our structure and are sinking fast, it is imperative to be open to any and all lifelines. Failure to accept help is rooted in hubris or ignorance, either of which can cost you your life and/or livelihood. Sometimes we wait for a big sign from above that will make it all better, when what we really need is someone to stop the leaking and give us the beginnings of a solution. As evidenced by the parable above, you can’t find a way out unless you look up.
Lifelines come in all forms. There are days when I wonder if what I’m doing is what I’m supposed to be doing. Just then I’ll get and email or phone call or Facebook message from someone who gives me a word of encouragement, a shared memory about my father, or an insight into how they are living tremendously and I’m immediately back at the ship’s helm!
There are also days when I am faced with a grave moral, legal, or spiritual threat. During my time in the military we had a “recall roster”. In the event of a weather emergency or call to deploy, we had a structured list of names and phone numbers so everyone could be alerted and spring into action. When I am under attack, I activate my recall roster and the prayers, positive thoughts, words of wisdom, and the offers to help begin pouring in.
My father always taught me that there can be no going up without some going down. The greatest lifeline I have found is on my knees. Sometimes the wounds or pain are just so deep, or the embarrassment or guilt so profound, that there are no words we can use to convey to it to others. Abraham Lincoln said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
So hang on, help is on the way, and it may come from the most unlikely sources IF you are open to receive. Until then, go deep where the water is calm and know, this too shall pass.