Once upon a time, there was a little boat. The first day she was launched she almost sank, there was a little hole in her hull, but she was repaired, and floated off into her little boat life. She traveled over many seas, and up and down rivers for the next sixteen years, never really anchored anywhere for long. Then one day, she saw a harbor. It was a beautiful little harbor, with smooth waters, and a handsome dock. It looked like the perfect place to settle for a while. She floated into that pretty little harbor full of hopes and dreams, and she loved the dock there, it held her softly in place, and she felt safe. It didn’t seem so bad she thought, being tied to the dock, for she loved the harbor, and staying anchored felt good for a change. During her first year there, she noticed at times that the waters in the harbor got rough, and she got scared, but she didn’t leave, she stayed tied to the dock. In the little boat’s seventeenth year, she took on her first passenger. She had never had anyone aboard before, never carried anyone inside of her, and she feared her ability to keep her passenger safe from the storms in the harbor, that had seemed to grow stronger, and more frequent. There were boats all around her that advised her to dump the passenger, that she was just a young boat, and didn’t know how to travel with such precious cargo, they said. But, she held on to that passenger, and over the next six years, took on two more little travelers.
By this time, she had been tied to the dock for almost seven years, and the little harbor, that once looked like a dream now just looked ugly. The storms came unexpectedly, and banged her up against the dock, leaving her hull battered and scarred, but she always made sure that the three little passengers were safe from the storms, and that they were only allowed to see the beauty of the harbor. In the eleventh year of being in the harbor, tied to the dock, the little boat faced the worst storm yet. It was dark, and scary, and banged her up against the dock again and again, leaving many scars. She found it hard to stay afloat, but the precious cargo she carried gave her courage and strength to break the ropes that kept her tied to that dock, and she left the harbor behind, setting out for uncharted waters.
All the storms, and so many years of being battered by the dock had left the little boat with no compass, no true direction, and a fear of open water that she had never felt before. Her passengers began to feel as adrift as she was, so she docked for a while in a nearby port, but that port had storms of its own, ones she didn’t want her passengers to see, but she had no where else to set anchor. Then one day, the first passenger to have come on board, began to cry, wanting to return to the beautiful harbor, where all was familiar, where all her friends were, where she felt safe. You see, she had never seen the little boat getting ravaged by the storms, she only knew the beauty and security of that harbor. So, the little boat returned to the harbor, and let all her precious cargo disembark. She knew that they would always be safe there, that there were bigger boats they could board, that would care for them, and that they would never be tied to that dock that had ravaged her hull, and left her scarred.
The little boat left the harbor empty, slowly, turning back several times to catch a glimpse of the cargo she had held so dear. But, she knew she could never return for good, never be tied to that dock again, never endure what had happened there. So, she left empty, adrift, heading for unknown waters. She would go back to that harbor many times over the years to visit, to see how her little passengers were growing, and would take them for short trips. But, as much as she loved them, she knew she could never take them back on board. There was no life for passengers on that little boat, there was no anchor, no port, no direction. So, with her cargo now safe, the little boat headed out for unknown waters, empty, sad, and unsure…but free from the dock.