On First Steps

There’s probably nothing as frightening and at the same time as exhilarating as a first step – the knowledge that you are about to do something completely new, that you have never done before.  It’s a truly unique combination of the thrill and the paralysing terror of the unknown.

It makes me thinks of the story in the Bible when Peter walked on water.  I can only imagine what he must have felt.  On the one hand, there’s the thrill of knowing he’s about to do something that no human being has ever done.  On the other, the mind-numbing terror because there’s a very good reason why no human being has ever done that – we sink!  But Peter is resolute – today he’s gonna walk on water.  He steps out of the boat and, to his surprise, steps on solid water (but deep down, possibly at the depth where most fish have their own lighting systems, he knew that was going to happen, didn’t he?)

Sure, it didn’t last long, and people haven’t stopped giving Peter grief for getting afraid and sinking, but by golly, he walked on freakin’ water!  He took that first step and did something no human being had ever done before!

I can see the other disciples sitting in the boat:  ‘Hey, Pete, you sure about this?  I mean, you remember what happened at your last swimming lesson.  I don’t think…well, what do you know!  Don’t look down, Pete!  Whatever you do, don’t look…oops!’  (BTW, if you want to read an excellent book about this particular story and its real-life applications, get yourself If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat by John Ortberg.)

I’m standing on the boat, looking at the waves, and I wonder if this isn’t the time to try walking on water.  A first step in a new direction, however, also means stepping away from something else, and I’ve never been good with goodbyes.  But maybe it’s time.  It feels like forever since I’ve done something new and I can do with a bit of new in my life.  Sure, I can sink like a stone, but what if I step out and step onto solid water?  Just imagine…