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is it the harbor or high seas

05/14/2020 10:48:13 AM


Shalom Lewis, Rabbi Emeritus

‘A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are for’ is a powerful metaphor for the human spirit and the daily challenges we face. With every sunrise we are ships in harbor, but lurking within every moment. Embedded within every decision. Crouching within the shadows of every choice, is peril or achievement.
As we spring from bed each morning we calculate, evaluate and become risk takers. We decide with every thought, is it the harbor or the high seas? If we remain in the harbor, paralyzed by foolish caution we go nowhere and accomplish nothing. If we choose the high seas there might be a storm over the horizon, perhaps pirates, but for the wise and the adventurous, we must weigh anchor and depart.
All that we do in life is a balancing act. Do we drive a car and trust the brakes? Do we enter an O.R. and trust the surgeons? Do we fly Delta and trust the engines? Do we gobble down a meal and trust the FDA? We dare not be reckless when we venture forth, but we dare not retreat into a mythical place believing it is hazard free. Our ancestors left the illusory safety of the cave armed with but a club and faced lions and tigers and bears. If they remained in the cave they would have perished.
With thanks to Shel Silverstein. A poem entitled ‘Fear’.
Barnabus Browning was scared of drowning,
So he never would swim.
Or get in a boat.
Or take a bath.
Or cross a moat.
He just sat day and night
With his door locked tight
And the windows nailed down,
Shaking with fear
That a wave might appear,
And cried so many tears
That they filled up the room
And he drowned
The harbor or the high seas?
Wed, June 3 2020 11 Sivan 5780