The Man in the Flood

A man was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back,  “No thanks, God will save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed: “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “Do not mistake the ways in which I help you.”

Anyone who knows me knows I am not religious in the traditional sense. Despite being raised in a Catholic school system, a community I am extremely grateful for, I have neither been baptized nor confirmed. Yet the Parable of the Flood has stuck with me since I first heard it more than 15 years ago. Why? Because it turned out to be a crash course on things I needed to accept in order to get out of my own way:

1// Plans rarely go as planned

If you haven’t listened to Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes, do it. (If you aren’t a country music person check out the lyrics.) In short, the best-laid plans go awry. Period. The sooner we realize this, the better off we are. Being too rigid in the ways we choose to move forward may halt any progress at all.

2// We often find what we need in the most unexpected places

Small joys abound, but only if you take the time to recognize them. Sometimes, we find companionship in people we never considered, a hobby in a task we never thought we’d enjoy, or a silver lining in an otherwise grim circumstance. Especially in a time of such uncertainty, I hold on to this message. Being quarantined isn’t necessarily something we would typically choose, but it offers an opportunity to rest, to reconnect with loved ones, to get caught up on work, or simply to enjoy doing nothing at all. The key is to allow what we need to come to us, even if it’s from someone or something we didn’t expect.

3// Don’t refuse an opportunity just because it didn’t arrive exactly as you had envisioned it

This goes for jobs, dates, academic programs, travel, and just about everything and anything else you can think of. I, for one, met my boyfriend, got my job, and found my best friends all in totally unexpected ways–and I couldn’t be more grateful. Just because it wasn’t the way you imagined, doesn’t mean it’s not meant to be! Take it from someone who has a hard time swallowing circumstances when they aren’t immediately as I think they should be: sometimes, curveballs are exactly what we need.

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