Looking down, we felt in a way that we deserved to be in that abyss. In a strange way, it seemed like our home.
Frightened, we let everything we were holding on to go, except we could not let go of our compass. Our descent slowed, but we were still sinking. We looked at our compass. It was all that we had left. Let it go, we heard. It couldn’t save us.
Time seemed to stop as we descended into the dark abyss. Our life flashed before our eyes.
The epiphany hits us, and we realize following the direction of the compass is what got us here. We have to let it go! Consumed in fear, the swordfish notices our change in intent and begins to intimidate us as she circles around.
We look up, down and at the compass. It’s time to let it go.
We let the compass go, and at once, we stop sinking and begin rising towards the surface. The swordfish grabs our compass and swims upwards urging us to take it back, but she’s bogged down by the attached floater still connected to the sinking wreckage. She swims upwards as hard as she can threatening us to take it or else all will be lost. The swordfish struggles to keep up with our ascent and finally runs out of energy as she is quickly pulled down into the abyss below. We stare down watching the swordfish and what was most important to us fade into the ocean darkness.
We burst out of the water and quickly look around for the island. We can’t find it and a sense of panic overwhelms us. Surveying frantically, we realize we’re alone, and in the middle of the ocean. Moments pass, in what seems like eons, until all a sudden we’re lifted out of the water into a boat. We look over. It’s a fisherman! He looks at us and smiles.
It’s time to go home.
Home? We’re confused and skeptical. But, there was something different about Him. We were at peace in his presence.
Laying on the boat floor, we peer over at a metal bucket thinking it contains fresh water and we’re startled as we see a swordfish. And then we realize, it’s our reflection on the side of the bucket. We are the swordfish! And then the turtle, the clownfish and shark fade from one to the next. We are the all of them!
As this revelation permeates our soul, the fisherman hands us the compass we lost in the abyss. The scratches and damage are gone and it’s as if it was recreated. The needle is now pointing somewhere specific. As we look up at the Fisherman, he lets us know it’s pointing us back towards the island, to our home. He nods towards the boat as we look around. This too is our boat, but fully restored! How? Why?
Emotions overtake us as our eyes well up in tears. We thought we lost it all, but it’s all back and better! And then He directs our gaze inside the bucket on the boat’s floor. Inside, we see it’s full of different stories of our journey inside bubbles of water. We’ll use these to help others, He indicates.
Sailing back towards the island, we tilt our head up from staring at our compass and we see others. They’re on the beach, in the riptide, in the reef, stuck in the caves, and falling into the abyss. Our past pain, loneliness, suffering, and fear overwhelm us as we watch. Completely overtaken by emotion, we immediately want to jump back in the water and help them. They don’t know what they’re doing or where they're going. We have to help them!
The Fisherman stops us and points to the bucket again. As we look at the water bubbles, we now see the fisherman in them. He was there in our story all along, but we didn’t notice! This was all part of His story! As we look back up across the water's horizon, we see the Fisherman appear, in all those other’s lives. He’s is rescuing the wounded out of the riptide. He’s pulling the lonely from the reef. He’s rescuing the abandoned from the caves. He’s tugging at the obsessed to let go. He’s got this! The Fisherman is teaching us how He loves and helps others, even when they’re in peril. His example is inspiring and we start to wonder if we could play a role in this larger story.
Our boat lands back at the island sandy bars we fondly remember from the start of our journey. Now standing on the shore, the Fisherman extends his hand and asks us…
Will you follow and join me? We’ll create safe places for those on the island. We’ll go after others fleeing the island as I have done so for you.
And we think to ourselves, what will we choose?
What will we do?
What Will YOU Do?
A Redemptive Parable Of Our Journey Home
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”