The Legend of the Rowboat

The Legend of the Rowboat August 10, 2020

(Photo credit: Faith McDonnell)

When the flood came, the rowboat had been there all along.

Both Silent Ones and Loudmouths were caught unawares by the flood. They all ended up clinging desperately to the roof of the last remaining solid structure so as to not drown.

You understand that Silent Ones are not totally silent. Tranquil and easy-going, they just wanted to live their own lives with their families. Control was something they neither desire to exert over others or to experience themselves. But they were vulnerable to being shamed. And so they kept their mouths shut more often than was good.

The Loudmouths, on the other hand, were loudmouths. Particularly when it came to hating the leader of the Silent Ones. They were extremely loud about that. And they were extremely loud about telling everyone else what to do.

Now, however, Silent Ones and Loudmouths were all in the same boat, so to speak. Except that, ironically enough, the Loudmouths insisted there was no boat.

The Loudmouths and the Experts

There were those among the Silent Ones who whispered that God had sent a rowboat –as He is wont to do—for one crisis, knowing that if people were wise enough they could use it to escape coming deluges as well. And it was so. It was so, that is, that the people could escape the current deluge if the Loudmouths had not had an agenda that would be better served by letting Silent Ones drown in the flood.

Why else would human beings forbid their fellow humans a perfectly good, serviceable rowboat? That rowboat had already ferried thousands safely to shore. Because, shockingly, some Loudmouths would rather see those fellow humans sent down the River Styx in Charon’s boat, and then lay the blame for their deaths at the feet of the same leader of the Silent Ones for whom they blamed the flood. There was certainly no rational explanation.

“Listen to the experts!” these Loudmouths scolded the desperate-not-to-drown silent majority as they clung to the roof of the still-floating but precarious structure. The rain continued to fall and the floods continued to rise. The Loudmouths shouted in the Silent Ones’ faces when they saw them look longingly at the sturdy, simple craft floating just out of reach. “It’s not real!” they screamed. “Listen to the experts!”

They condemned the Silent Ones to more silence and shamed them because they were passing on dangerous and false rumors about fake floating crafts that could escape the flood. “You are violating our community standards!” they exclaimed.

Promising a Helicopter

“The experts say to stay on the roof and wait for the helicopter!the Loudmouths insisted. It wouldn’t be long before a helicopter would come to save them all, they assured – a year or two at most.

Meanwhile, one by one, Silent Ones grew weak, lost their grip, and fell off the roof and into the churning flood waters. Many were lost forever. The Loudmouths tried to hide their glee as they counted the bodies of the dead floating by. They broadcast the number each day. And in case any loudmouth began to question things that were happening they told them that, again, it was all the fault of the leader of the Silent Ones!

There were times when Loudmouths disappeared. The Silent Ones didn’t know where they could be. The roof was only so big and didn’t seem possible to hide on it. Being Silent Ones, who actually had souls, they worried that the Loudmouths who, after all, were fellow humans. They may have also succumbed and fallen into the flood.

They could swear that they heard a splash every now and then. But the splash was soon followed by a strange noise that they could not identify. Since they had never heard the sound of oars plunging through water they didn’t recognize a rowboat in action.

The Silent Ones didn’t know that the very Loudmouths who told them that there was no escape from the flood but the coming helicopter were using the rowboat themselves. They were saving their own lives, using the rowboat to make themselves immune to floods.

Never Let a Good Flood Go to Waste

In fact, some Loudmouths had another reason for warning Silent Ones off of believing in the efficacy of a rowboat, the rowboat that they themselves were taking to escape the flood. Not only did they want to be able to condemn the leader of the Silent Ones – condemn him for those who drowned, for the lack of a helicopter, even for the flood itself! They wanted to add to their own wealth by creating the longed-for helicopter.

Never mind if the helicopter’s engine was not mounted properly. Never mind if the helicopter’s blades were bent or broken. It was good enough to fool the Silent Ones and their leader, they thought. At least they could fool them long enough to round up all the Silent Ones and stuff them in that helicopter, and watch as it plummeted into the flood waters. Then the Silent Ones’ leader would be ended once and for all, too.

The Loudmouths waited impatiently for the Silent Ones to lose their grip on the collapsing structure’s roof and slide into the floods, or for the helicopter to appear like a giant vulture in the sky. When the helicopter became engorged with Silent Ones, the pockets of some Loudmouths would become engorged with billions. Either scenario would please them.

A Rumor Stirring

But as the Loudmouths waited, more and more Silent Ones found ways to speak. Some were just plain skeptics. They demanded, “Why should we believe Loudmouths? They lie to us about everything else. What makes us think that they would tell us the truth about this?”

Others just appeared from out of nowhere. They were Sailors who knew that the rowboat was real. Before the Loudmouths had taken control with their shaming and blaming, the Sailors used the rowboat to save lives. The Sailors were now risking more than flood waters by defying Loudmouth flood ideology.

They spoke out, in spite of the Loudmouths’ attempts to stop them. They showed the Silent Ones pictures of those who had been rescued from the flood waters with the rowboat. Those who now were safely on dry land. And those who had been rescued, they told the Silent Ones, had learned how to more successfully navigate the floods so they did not have to cling onto a treacherous roof ever again.

The Courage of the Silent Ones

The Silent Ones were growing less silent. Some of them found the courage to follow the Sailors off of the sinking structure and into the rowboat. As they began to row towards safety, they recognized the odd oar-plunging sound that they had heard before. They understood that Loudmouths had been lying to them all along. Loudmouths had been rowing away from the flood in this very rowboat.

The Silent Ones realized that God had indeed sent this rowboat long ago to rescue them from this current flood and they thanked Him. They also realized that the Loudmouths had let some of their fellow Silent Ones die unnecessarily.

After that the formerly Silent Ones began taking the rowboat back to rescue more Silent Ones on the roof that were waiting for a helicopter that would never come, or worse, would be a dangerous tool of the Loudmouths. The Silent Ones on the roof began to whisper of them as “the People of the Rowboat.”

As the People of the Rowboat rowed back to the sinking structure over and over, rescuing Silent Ones until all were safe on dry ground, they grew stronger and more confident. They knew that their leader would support them. And they knew that they would never allow the Loudmouths to stop anyone from finding the rowboat again.

To him that ears let him hear



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