A young man once dreamt of owning his own sailboat. He would daydream of traveling around the world, with a small crew and visiting different ports along the way. Finally, after years of hard work, and sacrifice, the man was able to buy a beautiful boat. He showed his friends and family his new pride and joy and asked those close to him to be his crew. He loved the attention, the freedom and the pride of his accomplishment. He kept the boat well maintained. Actually, he took better care of it than himself. Over the years, folks started to associate him with this boat. So much so they began to refer to him as, “The Guy with the Boat.” Some remembered him before the boat. However, they didn’t care who he was as long as they were able to sail freely with him and take full advantage of his hospitality. The young man thought that life could be worse. I’m happy and my friends and family are happy and that’s all that matters. Eventually, he was known as “The Wonderful Guy with the Boat”. The man with it all!
Years quickly past and both man and boat began to weather with age. In his heart of hearts he sadly realized that the boat wasn’t as seaworthy as it used to be and that trying to keep it maintained in the fashion he had come accustom was becoming tedious work. Both small and large tasks were overwhelming and extremely time consuming. And as the boat began to deteriorate, most of his maintenance went unnoticed. Ironically, he had just purchased a new lifeboat a few months before. He decided to set sail for one final voyage . . . this time he sailed alone. He thought he would visit a new and exciting port. He set course to an exotic island, a place he would remember for the rest of his life. He sailed for days and finally he could see the vague outline of the island on the horizon. As he got closer, he noticed his boat started to take on water. Just a little bit at first then much more. The more he pumped and bailed, the more water the boat took on. He was too far from the island to continue sailing and too attached to his boat to admit it was no long seaworthy and sinking. He was so close to his beautiful island and unable to reach it in the boat he had meticulously maintained and treasured for so many years. He was dangerously alone.
As his boat continued to sink he sat at the helm and reminisced about his maiden voyage, his past adventures and reflected on his lost dream. Being the dedicated captain and committed man that he was, he knew no other way but to go down with his boat. After all, what would my family and friends think? Abandoning my boat would be a dishonor. To have anyone think I’m a failure would be a fate worse that my impending fate. And, a commitment is a commitment no matter how grave the consequences. He thought, “It’s what any good man would do, right?” So he cut loose the lifeboat and went down with his treasured old boat with no one around to acknowledge his bravery, selflessness and generosity. As man and boat disappeared beneath the surface, the lifeboat remained afloat, eventually drifting to the shore of his exotic island where his true friends had gathered to thank him for all of his years of generosity, sacrifice and love. As for his fair-weather friends they never asked of his whereabouts and went on with their lives.
The moral of the story: Never underestimate the power of true friendship and a reliable lifeboat. Both could save your life.