I looked down at the cement covering my feet and crawling it's way up my calves. My eyes followed the rocky basin across the ocean that howled loudly against the sound of a thousand seagulls. I could see it in the distance. As it had always been. The island of my dreams just above the horizon, fuzzy edges rippling across the skyline. I lifted my knee to find that my foot was unable to follow. Trapped, I contemplated how on Earth I had gotten myself into this situation, and more importantly, what if everyone else was right...
The cement dug deeply into the cracks of my dry skin and itched along it's broken edges touching my bare legs. I lifted my eyes to the sandy shore that was only feet away from my cement prison. There, bobbing slightly in the harbor, was a red paddle boat. Now I knew what I must do. The only way to get to the island of my dreams would be to rid myself of the cement and paddle out to sea. But cement does not melt in the intense sun light or break off in the frozen nights. I would need help. I began to scream.
Screaming for help, to only be echoed by silence, is a very depressing predicament. The buildings and houses several feet behind me were buzzing with people, but no one could hear me or acknowledged my existence. Maybe it's because people who venture out into the sand are considered crazy. Maybe I was being shunned. I was told this would happen... but I had also seen people make it across the sands that stick as cement, brave the tossing waves in the paddle boats, and arrive at the island of their dreams. I had seen it and I knew in my heart I could and would make it.
I sat in the sand and buried my face in my legs. The tears and sobs came quickly and I choked back the insistent cries of agony boiling in the back of my throat. I began to do what I knew would get me through. Something everyone else I had left on the mainland had told me was a myth. I believed.
And I believed. The harder I fought, the harder I believed. I believed in a life outside of the world I lived in. I believed in myself and my ability to make it to the island of my dreams. And I believed that even though I would have to fight my way there, I would find paradise waiting for me. As I changed my heart and my mind, the sand began to slowly crumble off of my toes and fall like silk. I picked myself up and raced for the paddle boat, kicking sand about as I finally dug my fingers into it's wooden body. The paint chips flaked off into the underbellies of my nails as I pushed the boat into the water. I threw myself into the hollow shell and onto the plank that served as a seat. Grabbing the much too large oars, I began pushing and pulling my way to paradise.
I had made it this far, realizing that all I needed to do was believe that the island of my dreams was real and worth fighting to get too. And I needed to believe that even though the world turned away from me, my belief in myself and the power of God to get me there melted away my circumstances and freed me. The journey across the ocean will be choppy and smooth, dangerous and relaxing...but no matter what the storms of this life...pushing and pulling our way to God is worth it.