Immediately, I imagined a seemingly strong and well-constructed boat waiting in the harbor. The captain lives in a city where storms are rare. Nonchalantly gliding on the ocean’s surface, the boat knows nothing of the sea’s potential fury. At some point though, dark clouds roll in and the swells rise until the ocean aggressively jostles the boat. The captain wonders, “Can she handle this storm?”
The storm tests the integrity of the boat. The boat may emerge unscathed. It may suffer damage that the captain fixes and reinforces thus making a stronger vessel. The boat may also crumble beyond repair.
When damage occurs, the captain may feel angry or disappointed. He may resent the work and time that must now go into repairing the boat. He may even abandon the boat for some time not wanting to deal with the consequences of the stormy sea. With attention and time, however, he eventually nurtures the boat back to seaworthiness. The captain tentatively trusts the boat’s constitution and, with time and experience, develops a deeper love for the boat. He brags to others, “We’ve been through a lot, this boat and me!” and realizes that the storm has contributed to the boat’s irreplaceability and value.
Of course, the captain does not ask Poseidon to rumble the abyss sending violent torrents to the surface of the sea. Furthermore, he does not search the world for stormy weather in attempt to put the boat through another test. The captain, however, has changed his attitude toward the ocean’s unpredictability and potential ferocity. Storms no longer pose the dire threat that they once did, because each tempest presents an opportunity to test the integrity of the boat. The captain no longer avoids a stormy sea or fears the ocean’s wrath. He now knows that if he finds himself upon the surface of an aggressive, swelling sea, he and his boat can weather the storm.
Like when a boat weathers a storm, how might your relationships differ if conflict represented the test of a bond and an opportunity to strengthen the connection? How would the captain glean information about the boat’s seaworthiness if he left it docked in the harbor every time the ocean got a little rough?