There was a little boy who lived by the sea and the one thing he loved best was to carve out little boats from the pieces of driftwood that came from that sea. One day he found washed up on the shore a solid block of wood so perfect for sculpting that he told himself, “This is going to be the best boat I’ll make!” and so he proceeded to carve it, making sure that the details were perfect. After sculpting it, he sanded it and painted and lacquered it. He’d then take it wherever he went, always showing it off to his friends.
One day, he waded into the sea, put his little boat on the water, and watched it bob up and down on the water. He was very proud of his boat. But suddenly, a great wave descended on him and the little boat, and the wave engulfed the little boat until it drifted far, far away from the boy and disappeared. The boy ran to his father, crying, and his father tried to comfort him, to no avail.
The days went past, and became weeks, then months, but the boy still missed his little boat. One day, while he was accompanying his father to town, he wandered into a store, and there, among the other souvenirs and merchandise the store was selling, was his little boat! He then approached the owner, and asked him where he got the little boat over there by the shelf.
“Well now,” said the owner, “someone came into the store just last week and sold me that little boat, and since it’s a fine piece of craftmanship, I thought it was a good deal.”
“Sir, you see, I was the one who made that little boat.” the boy said. “I carved it, sanded it, painted and lacquered it. It’s the best little boat I ever made, and it got lost at sea and I’ve searched and searched for it and now I’m so happy to have found it. Can I have it back please?”
The owner looked at the boy, shook his head, and said, “I’m sorry son, but I paid for that little boat, and if you want to get it back, then you’d have to buy it .” The boy, who didn’t have any money on him at the time, said, “Okay. I’ll be back soon. Just keep it in reserve for me, okay?” Then he took one last look at his little boat, and ran to join his father.
As soon as they came home, he went to his room, took his piggy bank, broke it, and counted the money in it. Alas, he came up short! He sat there, tears rolling down his face, and his father came in the room. “Son, what’s the matter?,” his father asked. So the boy told him what happened, and his father said, “Son, why do love that little boat so much? There are so many pieces of wood that wash up daily from the sea. You could make another little boat, or even more if you wished. “
The boy replied, “Father, I loved that little boat so much. I couldn’t eat nor sleep, wondering what had happened to it all these months. And to have found it after all this time! Father, I don’t care how much it costs, I’m going to work hard so I can save up to buy back my little boat.”
His father lovingly looked at his son’s sad face, and said, “Okay, my son, I understand. Here, I’ll give you the money to buy back your boat,” and handed him the money. The boy hugged his father tightly, whispering, “Thank you, father.” and ran off towards the store, and bought back his little boat. He took it home, cradling it in his arms, and showed it off to his father, his mother, and the rest of his family. From then on, he never let it drift too far at sea, and always kept it at his side.
Jesus is that boy, and you and I are that little boat. He molded us, polished us, cherished us so much, and when we drifted off where he couldn’t find us or reach us, he became so sad. And, after having found us again, he did not hesitate to pay whatever price in order to redeem us. With Jesus, he paid for us by giving up his life.
When you have someone who loves you that much, and you sometimes feel that nobody in this world really cares whether you come and go, take heart; somebody cares, and will never, ever let you out of his sight ever again.
– – – by Fr. Arlo Yap