Saturday, October 15, 2011

Drift - How did I get here?


It was the stuff good stories are made of: a beautiful summer day, a raft, a lake and a few boys. What fun to play in the water and drift around on the raft. Time stands still or it passes. On this day both happened.

This lake was no pond. Marston Reservoir is near what we now call Southwest Plaza. When I drive by it my thoughts always go back to that summer day. I see how big it is and picture that day in my mind.

One thing that makes drift dangerous is that it is silent. We easily miss what is going on. I also think it is the opposite of intentional. To be intentional on that day could have meant riding a power boat very fast in a straight line. A clear goal helps: Where do we want to end up?

My life is full of drift. There are many things I need to do but days drift by and they remain undone. The oldest item on my to-do list is dated December 1, 2010. I have things I can do to promote my Handyman business that I do for awhile and then forget.

Two events in my life help correct my drift. One is a weekly Samson Society meeting where I meet with some other guys. It reminds me of the important things I need to do in my life. The other is a monthly business meeting where I am reminded of the principals of cultivating business by referral. Every week and every month I am reminded of the basic things.

The raft drifted and the boys played. Time passed and it was getting close to meal time. If they drifted to the opposite shore it was going to be a very long walk back. Stevie decided he was going to swim back to their starting point.

Another problem with drift is many times, when we realize where we have strayed, we over correct; a radical move to get back on track; a move that may make things worse. We forget the basic things - the fundamentals, and come up with a whole new plan. What we need is calm and appropriate correction. 

Things could have been different that day. The boys could have joined together or taken turns and paddled back to their starting point. But that's not what happened. Stevie started swimming back; swimming way too far. Soon he was in distress, soon he disappeared.

Stevie's family was our old neighbors. He and my older brother were friends when they lived across the street. We visited their family at their new house sometimes.

I remember the next day the newspaper had a full page of pictures of the search. This was back when reporters and photographers wandered around looking for news. There were boats on the water, people who were watching and the one I remember the clearest: a picture of the hook they used to retrieve the body. For Stevie, his family and many others, time stood still that day.

One thing we can do to prevent drift is to have anchors in place. These are the fundamentals that keep us in line or that we go back to when we stray. The most important is Scripture. This anchor needs to be set daily because every day the world is trying to pull us its way. We need something firm to hold on to.

When drift is small it's not too hard to correct. As time goes on the distance back to shore can become almost insurmountable. Thankfully we have a God who can overcome the impossible if our stubbornness doesn't sink us.


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