The Land Beyond the Lake (parable)


Photo by wili_hybrid .

An old man and a boy were fishing on the shore of a great lake. As they listened to the sound of the birds and the whispers of the wind the old man started to tell the boy stories. He talked of how he had grown up and how some things had changed and some stayed the same. He talked of how he had seen the land on the other side of the lake.

“What are you talking about Grandfather?” The boy interjected. “There is no land on the other side of the lake.”

“There surly is for I have seen it.” The old man replied with a smile. “Even though I have never set sail on this lake I have seen the land with my own eyes.”

“Surly you must be mistaken. I have looked out on these waters all my life and while I am not privileged to have lived as long as you, I have never seen anything but water.”

The old man paused and watched the smile waves ripple upon the shore making no effect on the impregnable beach..

“You can’t see the land from here. You must climb the mountain to see the land beyond the Lake.”
“But Grandfather, no assent up those treacherous slopes will change my basic view. It will not let me see any farther. Soon you will be telling me I won’t know how to walk utill I wear your shoes.”

The boy startled by his own energy and passion began to real back his line.

“Why don’t you climb the mountain and look for yourself, my son.”
“I don’t need to climb the mountain to see something that doesn’t exist.”

And so the conversation faded back to the chirping of birds and the whispering of wind. And the boy never did see the land beyond the lake.

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the author of Courtship in Crisis, the former head of PracticalCourtship.com, and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is a professional speaker and CEO of Author Media. He sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.

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