“One day a man was sitting in his small boat on the Niagara River. The waters were calm, the breeze was gentle, and the sun shone brightly from a cloudless sky. Only moments before, the man had pushed his boat from the river bank, and even now the shore was only a few feet away. Clearly there was no cause for concern. As he baited his hook and cast his line into the water, his mind began to drift. And so did his small boat. The movement was slow and imperceptible in the beginning, with the boat doing what any boat will do if left to drift along the gentle current. All drifts lead towards an eventual destination, and left uncorrected will move towards the destination as though by some strange and unforeseen force.
In his preoccupations of the moment, the man did not notice the increased movement of his boat. His thoughts were still on fishing as it had been all week in anticipation of this outing. There would be plenty of time for seriousness. For a little while at least, he would continue to relax and enjoy himself. He would ignore the challenges of life and use this hour to allow himself to drift.
Without warning, his thoughts were shaken from wherever they had wandered, back to the present. The sound seemed to come from nowhere, distant at first, but in the twinkling of an eye, it had intensified and was now almost deafening. His attention was seized not only by the sound, but by the movement, for his small boat was being propelled through the waters that were no longer gentle and calming.
He looked around him and for the first time he noticed the river banks on either side had retreated on a journey of their own. He had no motor on his small boat and had journeyed forth with only a single paddle. There had been no apparent need for a motor or roars.
He struggled to comprehend what was happening, for it was as though he had moved from the calmness, the serenity, and the safety of one environment into the frenzied turbulence of circumstances beyond his ability to grasp or control. He had cast himself and his small boat into the Niagara River, and his drift has brought him to the threshold of the falls.
His mind flashed a collage of thoughts and emotions. If only he had thought about the consequences of his drift. If only he had been better prepared and had thought to equip his boat with a motor just in case. If only he had sooner; if only……..
In a fleeting moment he felt the impending doom of his own personal neglect. He was a victim of his own preoccupation – of his own careless inattention to details in an environment that had the capacity to swallow up his existence, his opportunities and his abilities, and to put all his dreams to an end in one brief moment.
His one final thought was what he would do differently, if only he had a second chance. His thoughts rushed through his mind with the same rapidity as the water passing over the edge of the falls, tumbling to their final destination hundreds of feet below.
Had he been given the gift of a second chance he would have allowed himself to see the possible future disaster well in advance. He would have seen it clearly in his mind before the event took place in his reality. He would have anticipated the certain consequences of neglect. In his mind’s eye, he would have seen the rising foam, heard the roar of the falls and sensed his accelerated drift so that he might have acted without delay to move quickly to the safety of the shore.
If he could have been plucked from the waters instead of being consumed by them, he would have placed more values upon his talent, his opportunities and his time. He would not have allowed frivolity to capture his attention nor would he have permitted his desire for rest and relaxation to take his focus off the greater need for intense labour and measureable success.
Unfortunately, he simply ran out of time.”
Folks, drifting is a deadly disease that can only be cured by the power of accurate thinking and having a clear sense of purpose in life.
Like this man in the story, all of us are drifting in some direction even in this very moment. In every areas of our lives we can see drifting going on. We do not take time to think properly, to live in the now. We allow our minds to wander about uncontrollably, so we cannot achieve anything.
Drifting is the major cause of failure in every walk of life. Some of us drift into relationships and marriages without a clear purpose. We just want to be married out of a sense of desperation – because everyone around us is getting married, or because we think our “marriage clock” is ticking, and thereby we marry without any clarification of what we want the relationship to produce for us. Soon we find ourselves nagging and bickering over money, how to bring up children. We just engage in fault finding rather than enjoy the relationship.
For some, we drift in our jobs, our choices of occupation, and businesses. Most people working today do not have a clear purpose of being in that job. We are just too preoccupied with the thought of making a living. We don’t realize that there is so much more to life than just scrapping by. But because we wouldn’t spend the time to think, to learn and plan for our lives, we end up like the several other millions of people out there living in fear of poverty.
In some other cases, we are held back by our past. Our past failures and successes are holding us bound and imprisoning our future. Yet we would not take any action to correct this. We seem to think there is nothing wrong with it.
Life doesn’t give us an advance warning. You never know when is going to be your last moment on this earth. Maybe we only have a few years left in our time bank, maybe it’s only a few months, or a few days left. The bible says in the gospel of Matthew 24: 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”
Since we do not know how much time we have left wouldn’t it be wise if in this very moment, right now we take action, to control our thoughts, and have a clear plan and purpose for our lives? Take a few minutes to reflect on these questions:
What do you really want in life? What is most important to you? Are you prioritizing your time, spending it only on productive activities? What patterns have you gotten into that no longer move you toward your life goals?
Every action today has future consequences. However your life is today, it is a consequence of the actions we took yesterday.