Failure. Stress. Chaos. Confusion. Doubt. These are words that describe life for most of us today. The changes that lie ahead for all of us demand tremendous courage. We are amidst a struggle that never seems to end. Chaos has become a regular part of our existence. We want to know how it will all end. We want to run away to a desert island, away from it all. We want to hear the waves lap upon the shore, feel the breeze on our skin, and spend a few days or weeks with nothing to do or nothing to think about. We simply want it all to go away. Moreover, we wish we could run away from it all.
So, hop aboard your little boat and head out to sea. Your little tin boat has a tiny outboard motor. You are alone and your resources are simple by choice. You are going to a desert island far out in the middle of the ocean. As you pull your little tin boat up onto the sandy beach, you look up at the tropical forest that lines the beach. You can hear the birds singing. Off somewhere in the forest you think you hear the beating of drums, and you cut into the forest to follow the sound. As you work your way deeper and deeper into the forest, there is no path to follow. You push through hanging vines, step over fallen trees, wipe the sweat from your brow, and forage your own trail. You don’t really know what lies ahead, but you push forward. You are hot, tired and hungry. The forest canopy is thick but the blue sky is hanging in the backdrop as you look overhead. There does not appear to be any end in sight. You, quite literally, cannot see the forest through the trees. You find yourself deep in the middle of nowhere. There is no path to follow and no indication of which way to go. You call out but there is no answer. You cry out to God but there is no answer. There is no way out. You are lost. You are alone.
After awhile, you notice that a little bird is singing over your shoulder. So, you wipe the tears from your eyes and you sit and listen to the little bird. For a minute, you forget that you are alone, and you feel just the tiniest bit of happiness. You stand up and brush yourself off. You look down at your palms which are dirty and empty. You look around and you decide to choose the direction that follows a small creek. You walk for a very long time along this little creek. By now, your feet are blistered and sore. You take off your shoes and soak your feet in the cool stream. You wash your dirty hands. This small act is refreshing, almost healing. You wash your face and let the cool water drip down over your shoulders and arms. And, you give thanks for the little stream that has eased your journey. You lie in the stream pondering what you are going to do. You are still lost. You are still alone. And you just don’t know what to do. You think about following your markings back to where you started. This is an option. You could go back. You could go back to your little boat and go home. And so you decide that this is safer. This ending has a guarantee. The guarantee is your little tin boat that awaits you on the beach. You follow your cuttings and markings all the way back to your boat. It was just that while you were lost in the forest, you forgot that you could always go back.