Get on the Boat

10 Dec

An old joke:
A great storm has taken place and massive flooding has occurred. A pious, holy man stood on his roof to escape the flood. As the water continues to rise ever higher, a boat comes along. The boat comes up to him and the people inside offer the religious man a ride. He declines, “No thank you. G-d will save me.” While those in the boat are surprised at his reaction, they recognize he will not get in, so they drive off. This same happenstance occurs two more times. Each time the end result is the same. The pious man declines by saying, “No thank you. G-d will save me.” Eventually, the holy man drowns.
The holy man gets to heaven, and he has his moment to speak with G-d. He says, “G-d, I don’t understand. I pray to you regularly, give charity, study the bible, and do acts of kindness to the stranger. I am a true believer. How could you let me drown? G-d replies to the religious man, “I sent you a boat three times, but you refused to get on.”

When offered an opportunity, take it. Don’t question. That is the lesson I take from that joke. You don’t know where or when opportunity will present itself. However, that doesn’t matter. Remember that Stevie Winwood song, When you see a chance, you take it.
Too often, I am a double clutcher to use a basketball comparison. The player who double clutches despite an open shot has his shot blocked. He/she can’t believe the opportunity they have, so they pause for a split second. Well, in that split second, the opportunity has come and gone.
I wonder what if, playing out multiple scenarios in my head. I tell myself I am being wise and practical. I tell myself I have:
children depending on me,
food to put on the table,
a mortgage,
private school tuition bills.
I have, have have. Too often, these blessings can double as burdens.

This week is Chanukah. A very brief summary of Chanukah – The Jews overcame the Greeks, the superpower of the day. The Greeks had ransacked the Temple. When the Jews came to the Temple to rededicate it, they found only one day’s worth of pure oil which was needed to light the menorah (or lamps). They lit the menorah, and miraculously, the oil lasted for eight nights by which time more purified oil was able to be secured.
One could easily ask why did they even bother lighting the menorah? The oil was not sufficient and ultimately would have disappointed. However, the people took that chance and let G-d determine what would be. They had faith. Another question which is commonly asked is why celebrate the holiday for eight days (of course extra jelly donuts, latkes, and presents is the answer most kids give)? After all, the first day was not a miracle. There was enough oil for one day, so the miracle took place over the final 7 days. One answer that I have heard to this dilemma particularly impresses me. The fact that oil lights at all is a miracle. It is not an acknowledged miracle but an everyday miracle. The lesson I learn from this is to appreciate the every day.
So as my family and I celebrate Chanukah and I contemplate the end of the year, I have lessons to relearn. I need to move forward, and pledge to get on the boat when it shows up at my door.


Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


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37 responses to “Get on the Boat

  1. linneann

    December 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    That’s a lesson I could stand to learn myself. Thank you.

  2. Laura

    December 10, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I love that comparison. The Jews certainly seized an opportunity by lighting that lamp, even though they were unsure of the outcome. Great thoughts here. Thank you for sharing them. And a happy Chanukah to you and your family!

    • memyselfandkids

      December 11, 2012 at 12:49 am

      Thanks for the feedback and holiday wishes.

  3. Raani York

    December 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing this… It left me quite quiet…

  4. sonjaessen

    December 11, 2012 at 1:43 am

    A good lesson to take with me into the New Year as well. Fear and “common sense” has a tendency to hold me back. You only live once. You gotta grab those opportunities while you can.

  5. Jessie Clemence

    December 11, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Okay, I’m glad you brought this up because I need your input over here. Today I saw a minivan with a large plastic sign attached to the roof–think of a lit pizza delivery advertisement and you have the right idea. But this huge plastic thing was all about Chanukah, with a menorah and everything. So tell me–was this an actual person celebrating Chanukah, or a little joke, like those people who put reindeer antlers on the minivan with a red nose on the grill?

    Our population is about .01% Jewish in these parts, so I’ve never run into this before. Didn’t want to giggle if it wasn’t a joke. 🙂

    All that being said, I do appreciate your deeper meaning about trusting God and taking opportunities when He brings them!

    • memyselfandkids

      December 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Firstly, thanks for the last part of your comment.
      In tems of the guy driving around, it sounds weird to me. So, while it is certainly not part of the holiday, it takes all kinds. Maybe, he was advertising.

      • Jessie Clemence

        December 12, 2012 at 1:35 am

        Maybe! Maybe just a nut, too. 🙂

        • memyselfandkids

          December 12, 2012 at 2:42 am

          Maybe. I was thinking there is an organization that often does things to advertise holidays/customs etc. in order to encourage people to learn and ultimately to follow. It’s possible he was part of that.

          • Jessie Clemence

            December 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

            Interesting! I wish I could have talked to him about it, but he was deep in Lowes somewhere.

          • memyselfandkids

            December 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm

            Funny – I saw this recently as well. There is an outreach program called Chabad. I am guessing it is them.

  6. mrsjuliana

    December 11, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Awesome! 🙂

  7. elskenewman

    December 11, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Great words!

  8. reverend61

    December 11, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Chag Chanuka Sameach, compadre! (Did I ever mention I’m half-Jewish?)

    • memyselfandkids

      December 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you sir.
      No, you never did. On that note, Chag Sameach to you as well!

  9. Kelly

    December 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    It’s nice to be reminded to “get on the boat.” Very applicable to my life at the moment. You’ve given me something to ponder today! Thank you.

  10. didthatjusthappenblog

    December 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Loved it and everyone’s responses to it, etc. etc, blah, blah, but, what grabbed me most was the line “I have lessons to relearn”. I love to watch people grow and change, but what is the most awe inspiring is those that admit it right out loud. Those that are willing to step up and state that they want to continue to change, to grow, to seize opportunities, to get on the boat and to just have the faith in what has been given to them. Rock On!

  11. Joyce

    December 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Happy Chanukah to you, my friend.

  12. penneyfox

    December 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Great story to bring us into the holidays. And I couldn’t disagree with one thing you said. It’s been great getting to know you this year and we’ll see how you do with your ‘lessons to relearn.’
    Happy Chanukah to you, my friend.

    • memyselfandkids

      December 11, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Ditto here. One of the fun things about blogging is getting to ‘know’ your fellow/lady bloggers. A real type of community can exist.
      Thanks for the holiday wish.

  13. ateachablemom

    December 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Love this! Here’s to boats and gratitude and leaps of faith!

  14. shoes

    December 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    It is interesting that the things we have are sometimes the reason we don’t take that opportunity when it comes around. I good lesson to remember, getting on that boat.

    • memyselfandkids

      December 11, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      I like the way you phrase that in the first sentence. Now get on that boat! I am talking to me too.

    • memyselfandkids

      December 14, 2012 at 3:45 am

      I am very appreciate of your kind words. Thanks so much.

  15. now at home mom

    December 14, 2012 at 1:10 am

    great lesson, I should take it too! very well written 🙂 wish you a happy Chanukah to you and your family

  16. patgarcia

    December 15, 2012 at 11:53 am


    I so enjoyed reading this. Do you know you are maturing, and I enjoy watching it happen. Thanks for sharing this.

    Chanukah Sameach!


    • memyselfandkids

      December 16, 2012 at 5:14 am

      I appreicate that recognition.
      Thanks for the holiday wish and have a great week!


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