“My sons… My daughters… *cough, cough, cough* … it has been a blessing to serve you with the Wisdom I have gathered over the years.”
Tears of sorrow and happiness swept over the small crowd.
“And now I must leave this world and move onto the next. But…before…I…go…”
The people drew near, anticipating with eager ears.
“…I must tell you of a land far up this mountain. This land possesses beauty beyond wonder. There, the soil is fertile…the fruit trees are bountiful, and the water is pristine…”
The entire assembly fell dead silent.
“I have refrained from telling you of this land for one reason: it is separated by a sizable chasm in the earth. And I would not have been able to live with myself if any one of you were to die trying to jump to the other side. Well, now my time has come and I do not believe it right to keep this secret from you any longer…do with it what you shall.”
Just then, a triumphant wind blew across the field as the elder drew in one final deep breath and exhaled for the last time. The villagers stood motionless, stunned by his last revelation.
Days went by until one man dared to venture to this land. He was the fastest and strongest of all the tribe. When he approached the chasm, he witnessed first hand the immense beauty and abundance that gleamed on the other side. His eyes beamed with such delight that the chasm seemed far less daunting than the elder described in his final testimony.
In that moment, his entire life fell into perspective: “This is it. I must risk my life and leap across this chasm so that I can instill faith in my people that they can do the same.”
The man took several steps back, drew in and exhaled a deep breath of air, and squinted his eyes in set determination. Unafraid, he exploded into an aggressive dash straight toward the chasm.
With all of his might, he pushed off the edge of the chasm and hurled himself directly at the promise land. But as his body fell helplessly in a free fall, he realized that he would not make it. His entire body went lifeless and an icy chill ran over him as he stared death right in the face.
Just then, a powerful gust of wind slammed into the man’s back, giving him just enough force that his body crashed into the edge of the cliff, barely able to catch himself. With all of his might, the man pulled his body up the cliff.
He had done it. He made it to the other side!
The man was so blown away by the magnificence of this utopia, that he spent hours grazing on the unimaginably delicious produce.
Back at the village, the man’s brother grew worried. So he went to the chasm to search for him. To his great delight, he saw his brother munching away in the promise land.
“My brother!! How is it that you cleared this great chasm!?”
“You just have to trust that you will make it…quickly, come join me!”
But he was not as lucky as his brother. No wind came. And so he fell to his death.
Slowly, word began to spread in the village. Lacking in resources necessary to construct a bridge, the people relied only on their sheer physical prowess. One by one, villagers jumped to their demise…all on a distant hope of a better life.
It didn’t take long before the villagers abandoned their dreams of utopia, for the repeated loss of life was far too great an impact on the tribe.
But during this great time of mourning, one brave youngster walked up to the chasm. The man on the other side begged and pleaded for him not to jump.
“No worry. I am far too young to dare attempt such a jump.”
The boy surveyed the area…in his mind he knew there must be a better way across.
Several yards away was a single, sad, pathetic tree that grew on the very edge of the chasm…its roots half-exposed. The tree had but one leaf on it and was otherwise dead, starving in the rocky, desolate earth.
But the boy had faith in the tree. And so every day for years and years, he brought with him a can of water and distributed it lovingly at the base of its trunk.
Eventually the tree sprouted another leaf. And another. Its branches began to grow thicker and more robust.
Soon the tree had grown to a magnificent size, and the boy — now a man — was able to simply walk across its branch to the other side.
After spending hours feasting on fruit, he walked back across and told his people of this feat and soon the entire village had been uprooted and moved over to the promise land. Not a single life was lost. Not a single risk was taken.
The moral of the story is simple: don’t jump. Do not take grand, unnecessary risks. Wait until you are able to get to where you want to go with ease.
Your life depends on it.