“No one ever preaches about how Peter did walk on water,” said my dad. “You are so right!” I shouted back.
He and my mom were on speaker phone in Nebraska, so they couldn’t see me when I threw my left hand up into the air as if to add a silent punctuation mark. We had been discussing the sermon I heard earlier that Sunday on Matthew 14, in which Jesus commands Peter to come to him by walking on water. Peter gets out of the boat and walks on the water toward Jesus. That is, until he notices the strong wind, becomes afraid, and starts to sink.
He cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” Jesus, ever the multitasker, reaches out his hand to save Peter while also chiding him for his little faith. It’s the near drowning part of this story that gets remembered. And preached.
Really? That doesn't make for a very good story.
A good story, says story coach Lisa Cron, is about transformation. No one wants to buy a book or pay nine dollars for a movie ticket to see a guy give in to fear and drown (or nearly drown, depending on whether or not there happens to be a life guard savior to rescue him). We long to see him do the unthinkable. We need to see him do it because if he can walk on water then maybe we can too.
By now you're probably wondering if I'm suggesting we can literally walk on water. Well, no, not literally. Unless of course you consider the act of creativity to be supernaturally potent and miraculous, which I do. Creating something is like walking on water: it's that feeling of weightlessness and timelessness that happens when we let ourselves follow our imaginations and curiosities. We enter a transcendent space in which we don't just touch our divinity, we float in it. That is, until we look to the left or the right of us and see someone whom we believe to be more talented, someone we decide we should measure ourselves against. Fear grips us and we sink into a self-critical abyss:
"I'm not good enough."
"I'm too old."
"I'm too busy."
"What's the point? I'll never make any money doing it."
"Someone has already said it, done it, thought it."
But, hey, this isn't supposed to be another message about how we inevitably sink! This is a story about how you overcame these fears, transformed your doubts, and created something all your own. This is a story about how you walked on water.