March 7, 2010

We Are Here To Help Each Other

However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone he or she will not survive. It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore, we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others.

- The Dalai Lama

Yesterday I watched out the window as another what we call "nautical disasters" took place. The Sooke River empties into the harbour creating a delta that is often submerged above a certain tide level. This can be dangerous for boaters unfamiliar with the local terrain, causing trouble for them. Today there was trouble.

A sailboat had grounded itself on a submerged sandbar in the middle of the harbour. It was just before low tide so I knew that all the lone sailor on board had to do was wait an hour or so and the rising tide would free his craft. The man seemed resigned to his strandedness, but occasionally put an oar overboard to see if he could dislodge the boat. But to no avail.

Before long I noticed a tiny rowboat with a white-haired person at the oars. It was a windy day and the little rowboat struggled against the small whitecaps. At first the rower did not seem to be getting anywhere with the occasional wave temporarily stopping the boat. But the person hunched at the oars persevered.

It looked like rowboat was heading for the stranded sailboat, and sure enough judging by the line it was taking, that is were the rower was headed. To lend some good, old fashioned help, lend a hand, give assistance, rescue. All of a sudden I found myself rooting for this anonymous wool-caped nautical superhero.

It felt like a long time since the rowboat set out. The sailboat had, in the meantime, successfully dislodged itself and was now motoring toward the rowboat. All of a sudden the sailboat became grounded again. The rowboat kept on plodding along making slow, but steady progress.

With amazing skill the rowboat maneuvered alongside the sailboat. The sailor dropped his anchor into the rowboat. The rower rowed back out into the whitecaps and wind, and took the anchor out away from the sailboat, dropped it, then rowed back to join the sailor. I could not believe the stamina and courage of the white-haired rower that obviously knew exactly what needed to be done.

Now on the sailboat, the rower took over the controls while the sailor sat on the bow and pulled on the anchor rope. Working together they muscled the sailboat back into deeper water. The rower got back into the row boat and began to row away. The sailboat motored across the harbour... and got stuck again.

The rower, noticing that the work was not done, turned around and rowed against the wind and waves back to the newly stranded sailboat. Again the rower helped to get it in deep water and on its way.

Still, the work was not complete. The rower had to repeat this process two more arm-straining times before the sailboat could head home free and clear.

Last time I looked the white-haired hero was bending to the oars on the way home, task now complete.

I thought, "I must be more like this person. They know what it means to help another in need. They are a stellar example of selfless compassion with a strong altruistic streak that I wish to emulate in my own life."

Image what good we could do if we would take the time to help each other more often, rather than sit back in judgement and blame.

To the white-haired rowing superhero - thank you. Your desire to lend a hand to someone in need, despite the hardship and danger to yourself, was a powerful lesson for me.

We are all in this together, and our job is to help each other.


  1. G'day,

    I found your blog through and I have been reading through it the last 2 days.

    Your content is awesome! I like your approach to life and the way you live your life.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. James,

    Thank you so much for leaving your kind words. I do appreciate knowing how you found NBA, and am glad to hear that you are enjoying the site. I hope you continue to read, and comment. Thanks again.



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