Our comfort zones, often, become our prisons… We remain confined to the boundaries of our prisons. Like that proverbial ship, which is safe in the harbor, we all feel extremely safe in our comfort zones… where the water is shallow and the risk is almost zero. But then, just as how ships look glorious only when they leave the shores and sail into the deep and restless seas, we all look glorious only when we muster our courage and make our voyages of faith… Yes, there is risk and uncertainty out there… but unless we trust, unless we plunge, the voyage can never take place… The New World will remain undiscovered!
I am very much alive to this familiar fear that holds us all back at the shores… I experience this fear and hesitate to take the plunge… The deep and restless sea, often, frightens me. My past experience is incapable of inspiring in me the faith… Something beyond the past experience can alone fire my soul with faith and courage!
There is this episode in the New Testament. One early morning, Jesus sees Simon Peter and others, who were fishermen, washing their fishing nets. Their boats look empty and their faces look fallen. Jesus gets into Simon’s boat and tells them, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
“What! Are you crazy?” Yes, this is how Simon and others seem to react to what Jesus has just said. “We have been working all night long and there nothing out there.”
Well, Jesus was not a fisherman and he had no experience of the sea or fishing work. Simon and others were fishermen and their experience had confined them to the shore… The boats were pulled out of the waters and the nets were washed… “There was nothing out here… No hope… No fish.” Jesus did not operate from the position of his experience… He operated from the position of faith… trust… He knew, that, for a rich catch, the fishermen had to leave the shores and launch into the ‘deep’… They had to have faith, take risk… and let down their nets…
And the story goes this way: because Simon Peter and his brothers chose to override their own past experience and trust in the voice of the Master, they were able to fill their boats with an unbelievable catch!
It is this miracle of Jesus that made Simon Peter his steadfast disciple… “From now on, I will teach you how to fish men and women,” Jesus had promised Peter – the ‘Rock’… upon whom He had raised His Church – the worldly mission.
Whenever fear holds me back on shallow shores of my comfort zone, and when my boat looks empty and my face looks fallen… yes, in such times, I revisit this Biblical story… I hear Jesus’ gentle command:
“Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
Pic.: Azriel D'Souza