B U R N I N G

A young boy lived with his mother and father on a remote private island until one day they were washed away in the waves of a treacherous storm. They’d taught him how to survive on his own, so although he was lonely and devastated, he continued to do what was necessary to live through his mourning.

Everything he needed could be captured at the water’s edge, near the partially deconstructed boat he helped his father build before he disappeared. The boy didn’t know other people existed outside of the island because his mother and father had not yet exposed him to places that required traveling through the water.

One morning several months later, he stood bathing in the sun and fishing from the water’s edge when a small rowboat slowly approached with a beautiful naked young girl inside. He stood frozen in fear and curiosity as the boat slowed and she got out to walk towards him.

“Hello, my name is Li, and I’ve seen your fires for several nights. My mom and dad washed away with the waves several months ago on the other side of the island, and I’ve been alone since then,” she said.

The boy didn’t understand what the girl meant about the ‘other’ side of the island and was shocked that she’d lost her parents the same way he did.

“Hi, my name is Yu, and I lost my mom and dad with the waves too,” he said, unable to take his eyes away from hers.

Li smiled sadly.

“Our parents were friends. They visited our island regularly and traded boating and fishing supplies,” she said.

Yu was confused because his parents never spoke of another island or about trading supplies. He’d been surviving with their teachings about how to build, how to hunt, and how to keep safe.

“Our parents knew the storm was coming and your mom and dad asked me to keep an eye out for you and to come when I felt the time was right,” she finished.

Yu began to feel anger. He didn’t understand why his parents never told him of the other island and other people. He’d been so lonely and now was learning they kept him alone on purpose.

“I don’t need you to keep an eye out for me. I don’t need anyone,” Yu replied.

“I thought so too,” Li said, “but my parents left me without clothes, and in the last few weeks I’ve been freezing. As I lay covered by sand and watching your fires at night, I thought the time might be now,” she said sadly.

“I make fires when it gets cold, don’t you?” he asked.

Li looked over at her rowboat and at the deconstructed boat next to it before looking back at him to answer.

“Your parents told me you had not yet traveled the waters and that they had not yet taught you how to build a fire,” she said.

“But you said you’ve seen my fires the last few nights,” Yu said laughing.

“Yes, but only because you are burning your boat. I come now to show you through the waters because this island is ours. I will teach you how to build a fire, and in return, all I ask is that you help me stay warm,” Li replied.


Reflection
Sometimes we need the purity of love to stand naked before us for to see our enemies are not outside of us but within, that there is no safety in being alone, that we don’t need to burn the boat when living upon the island of our inheritance and that warmth always comes clothed in naked truth so that we need not undress to sail into the land of our dreams
, and play like children.