Small Changes Make a Big Difference
The boat beat into the wind, and the sails were pulled tight and snapping loudly. Like the wind, the waves were on our nose; each wave pushed us around. In the troughs, the bow swung one way and, on the crests, the other. And we were wet as spray gusted into the cockpit. It was uncomfortable.
The navigator popped up from the cabin, looked at the compass, turned to the helmsman, and said, “fall off 5 degrees.”
It was a slight change. The helmsman turned the wheel but a fraction of a turn. But with that small change, the waves were coming at us from a slightly different angle. Each wave pushed against the rudder, but the helmsman could hold the new heading easily. And the sails were not so tight and noisy. The spray subsided dramatically.
We all felt the immediate consequences; it was a calmer and easier point of sail.
But we did not see all the consequences. We saw the most significant change when we dropped anchor that evening.
We had been heading, slightly, in the wrong direction, and because of the slight change in heading, we arrived at our anchorage. Over the many miles we sailed that day, the slight change made a huge difference.
All of this reminded me of prayer and meditation.
Praying and meditating every morning is like having our navigator pop up and ask for a slight adjustment. First, the waves and wind of life are easier to handle. They don’t go away, they are still there, but like a sailboat riding easier on a better ‘point of sail,’ life is more manageable when I am on a better ‘point of attitude.’ The immediate consequences are apparent; I can feel the change in all my activities throughout the day.
But, as a slight change in heading changes the boat’s destination over many miles, prayer and meditation trigger a significant change that is not felt until the end of the day, many hours later. I arrive at a place and state of mind far from where I would have been without the minor course correction of prayer and meditation.
With a tiny bit of prayer and meditation, there is an immediate consequence; the journey is easier. But more importantly, I arrive at a better place and state of mind at the end of the day.