About ten years ago I told a story about Roz Zanders. She was trained as a family therapist and an executive coach. She developed models for leadership and effective action. Her work is detailed in her books, “The Art of Possibility” and “Pathways to Possibility.” Her story has stayed with me and is a constant reminder to remember what is essential as I strive to live the kind of life which is pleasing to God. The story is about her first white-water rafting trip. Her group meet up and traveled in one of those old rickety school buses to reach the launch point. On the way the guide, standing in the aisle, did some teaching on rafting. The guide explained, “If you fall out of the boat, it is very important that you pull your feet up so you don’t get a foot caught in the rocks below. Think toes to nose, then look for the boat and reach for the oar or the rope.”
As they made their way toward the river the guide kept repeating the words “Toes to nose,” and then, “look for the boat.” Upon reaching their destination the group gathered their equipment and stood in a circle for their final instructions. “If you fall out of the boat what do you say to yourself?” “Toes to nose and look for the boat,” they all chimed.
As they entered the only class 5 rapids on the river, Roz vanished into the water. It was as if she was in a black hole. Underwater, there was no sense of up or down, neither water nor air nor land. There was nothing at all. Then the words “toes to nose” … emerged and she pulled together into a ball. “Look for the boat …reach for the oar” … and she was back in the boat.
Here is what she writes: Since this experience, I have used the metaphor “out of the boat” with many people in different situations. It signifies more than being off track – it means you don’t know where the track is anymore. When you are out of the boat, you cannot think your way back in; you have no point of reference. You must call on something that has been established in advance, a phrase, like “toes to nose.”
Scripture Reading: Mark 1:40-41
“A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”?”
What do you call upon (or hold onto) when you are in a stressful or uncertain place?
What deflates your joy?
How can you be more Christ-like?
Prayer: Holy God, in Christ’s life, I know what is essential in living as you desire. Help me to create ways to care for others. Let me be a blessing today. Amen.
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