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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Leadership (03/14/05)

TITLE: Sink or Swim - A Navigation Parable
By Linda Germain


A boat full of shepherds and another full of sheep set sail for the isle of reaping –what- you- sow. One behind the other, across the main they bounded, drifted, floated, floundered with no compass or direction, merely hoping by winds of chance they would reach some shore, a vague and misty destination.

The first vessel bearing only Admiral-wannabes who swash buckled high and low, drunk on the grog of self-importance, pulling rank, tried to force the rest to walk the plank. This ship of fools, pretenders to the throne, went round and round propelled by hot air blowers who huffed and puffed; a pompous band of yo-ho-ho-yoyo-ers. It was quite a scene.

One whose only claim to fame was captain of his rowing team seized the wheel to shout,” I am taking charge, so shape up you salty tars, or better yet, ship out!”

Another cast himself as Mr. Christian, mutinous sailor, swishing sword, who danced across the poop deck floor. He cut a most impressive figure but soon was tired of such dramatic posturing. His unused muscles ached from the silly prance, his best effort at lords-a- leaping, so he found a nook and did some sleeping.

One by one they commandeered the bridge to wrench control by pugilistic ineffective fisticuffing, gaining only bruise of eye and ego. No one dared surrender to a lesser man than he, so on and on through storms and gales they sailed. They had no clue what made a crew, each so sure he’d be the head to pull this bunch together. They spent all their time in jealous indiscretion, tossing to and fro. This mess on board was just reward for stubborn, gross assumption. What they lacked was good sailor sense and basic human gumption.

Bringing up the rear, in fear, huddled under cover and scared to make a move, the boat of sheep were not faring any better. No one would step up to the plate to tell them what to do. It seemed easier to cling to familiar roles and pray for a commander to assign jobs and keep them right on course.

None took control, hesitant to make a wrong decision. They quaked and trembled beseeching God to make a way, yet never stepping up so he could use the hands on deck to bring the ship about. Rudderless and unskilled sailors, these timid seaman covered eyes and wailed, too afraid to row and to dumb to raise the sail.

Each boatload of clueless gobs, helpless in the face of need, finally reached a stopping place against a rock that none could see. They crashed and thrashed and bellowed, begging to be rescued. None had died but sadly all were lost.

Stirred together in their last chance prayers, they heard a voice that calmed them down; they looked around as one and suddenly in their view a mighty vessel, quietly heading for the shore in a lovely straight and narrow line. Right behind, tacking, trimming, staying sharp ran a whole armada dressed in lovely colors, flags of intent flying in the warm and gentle breeze.

They blinked in disbelief at names they read: Friend Ship, Fellow Ship, Judge Ship, Steward Ship, Scholar Ship, Owner Ship, Sportsman Ship, even Battle Ship. In the front, commander of the fleet guiding all to dock, boldly plucked them from the deep in time to change their course and arrive on Heaven’s shore.

Read it in God’s pages. The voyage of life will end in sinking sand or on the Rock of ages. Shepherd, sheep, or in-between, we are offered lifeboat passage. It’s leaving now for ports of call, a one-way trip to end them all. We can rest assured, the anchor holds.

“All aboard that’s coming aboard,” warns the Captain of our souls, dear reader, the only One who is the way, whose SHIP is christened LEADER.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Melanie Kerr 03/23/05
A really creative idea. I liked the descriptions of the two ships and how you had captured the characteristics of different personalities so well. I think the tlae needs to be tightened and tidied up. It is worth taking time to rewrite this as the idea is very clever.
Lori Othouse 03/23/05
I agree, very original idea with a lot of truth.
Dixie Phillips03/23/05
Kind of reminded me of Pilgrim's Progress. Great job of getting us to thinking. Thanks!
donna robinson03/26/05
The word had that ability to rock and roll off the tongue; the imagery was elaborate here. It was both an intellectual read and yet a reader friendly read too. Good job
Nancy Hardy03/26/05
Such truth is woven within this tapestry of allegory. I loved how you incorporated subtle strands of poetry; adding to the fabric a unique cadence. A true delight to read! - Nancy