Today I went to a professional development day at a local high school, where most of my favorite boys from last year are attending now. I like the school and what it is trying to do (strive to be better, always, just to sum it up).
Before the day even started, the campus minister got up and read that passage from the bible where Jesus walks on water. And Peter wants to, too, and Jesus calls to him to go ahead. Peter gets out of the boat, heads Jesus' way, and then falters.
I have always focused on the faltering. Always. Lack of faith.
The speaker guided us to look at that first part. The part when Peter gets out of the boat. Out of the perfectly good boat into the choppy waves. It wasn't "a boat sitting in a driveway in south county" but a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Boat's your best bet, buddy.
In order to follow Christ, in order to do what must be done, we must get out of the boat.
Of all the readings he could have chosen, biblical or later Christian writing, he chose that one to read to us today. And you know how I love connections.
I'm going fishing.
Cast your nets into deep water.
Get out of the boat.
Our speaker was Jon Gordon for the morning, and Jimmy Casas for the afternoon. They were both a little intangible compared to the past few years, but I was open to intangible today. Jon Gordon spoke about his book The Energy Bus, and how he started picking a word to focus on for the year. How focusing on a single word changes you, your actions, thoughts, perspective. It is a lens through which you see your whole life.
I have never done this, although I have done this. I can look at the last three years: hospitality, nichevo, and vulnerability. I settled on them during the summer and they guided my life throughout the year. Each year summer came along and another idea teased itself out. Each year they led to deepened faith and living with purpose. I wasn't doing it on purpose and it was only in retrospect that I saw the themes. But I like the idea of moving in a forward direction too.
He stood up there and asked us about what our word would be this school year.
A little harder to explain than "joy" or "determination." Makes it sound like I'm heading out for a weekend in waders.
I've never even been fishing. It's really just a metaphor for risk and faith and hope. But it's nicely tangible and I know what it means.
Because I'm pretty sure at this point that God is talking to me through these stories of Simon Peter's profession.