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To Thrive or To Survive!

I suppose everyone likes walking on water. If someone is invited personally and given the power by an authority to walk on water, certainly that person would enjoy it more. But if he is asked to jump off the boat and leave the safety zone, many of us would feel uncomfortable. The Holy Bible speaks the story of a man who was willing to jump off the boat leaving behind the safety zone as he found someone with better safety whom he could trust and rely on. It is St. Peter, the apostle of Jesus, cited in the gospel, according to Mathew Chapter 14: 22-33. 

The moment Peter realized that it was Jesus, not a ghost walking on water, he was all set to jump off the boat to walk with Jesus. However, the moment he doubted and lost focus on Jesus, he began to sink and called for help. He was all excited about being with Jesus and walking on water. The problem with Peter was losing his focus. In real life, losing focus can mean losing a life. When we make an inward journey into our own self, don’t we experience a Peter within us?  Maybe there is a Peter in our brother, sister, mother, father, friend and at times in every one of us? Like Peter, we too lose focus, deny Jesus for our safety, personal gains, name, fame, comfort, or convenience. We run away from Jesus at times, especially when we know He is hard to follow. But that is not the whole story of you and me. Like Peter, we too return to Jesus seeking pardon and forgiveness, reconfirming our faith in Him and even cry for help. At times we feel unworthy of having Jesus within us. There is a Peter in each of us, and the story of Peter is the story of you and me today. If we need to thrive in life, we need someone with us who is greater than ourselves; and it is none but Jesus who can make us walk on water.

If we need to thrive in life, we need someone with us who is greater than ourselves; and it is none but Jesus who can make us walk on water.

In our everyday life, faith, courage, and determination are three significant factors behind the success of any action.
I have the story of a daring woman like Peter, who was willing to jump off the boat.
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first American woman to become a medical doctor. She was born on February 3, 1821, in Bristol, England. She moved with her family to the United States, where she first worked as a teacher. She wanted to become a doctor in the 1840s. At the time, medical schools were only for men. She had to fight to get in. Finally, at one school, Geneva College of Medicine in New York, the students voted to let her in as a joke. But the head of the school didn’t know it was supposed to be a joke, and he let her in. When she got there, the students made fun of her. They refused to share their notes, and some professors even tried to keep her out of their classes. She refused to give up. In 1849, she graduated at the head of her class. But no hospital would allow her to practice; she opened her own hospital. Then she opened a medical school to train women. Elizabeth Blackwell courageously got out of the boat and walked on the roaring waters of opposition and gender discrimination in the medical profession. She was willing to jump off the boat that she could walk over waters and make a difference and leave a legacy of her own. She is an inspiration for each of us today. There are several Elizabeths, even today living in our communities, though they are known by different names.

Elizabeth Blackwell was able to fight and eliminate the evil of gender discrimination in the medical entrance. Peter was able to walk on water until he lost his focus. Are you able to walk on the waters of your daily trouble and trials today? What do you do when your own little boat of life is tossed about in the ocean of life? Where do you focus your heart when the horror of Covid-19 threatens you? Do you see evil in your own country, community, and family?  How do you respond to these daily realities?  Are you willing to jump off the boat?  If we are not willing to jump off the boat, we can never walk on water! Remember, when we lose focus on Jesus, we too are likely to sink in life. We must make sure that we thrive rather than just survive. You and I have a role to play to make this world a better place and leave our thumbprint for the coming generation with God’s help.


Fr Tomy Puliyan, MSFS

“Holiness and Happiness through Wellness and Wholeness”




2 thoughts on “To Thrive or To Survive!”

  1. Keeping focus with Jesus is really hard with all this technology and Temptations around us.
    The story of Elizabeth was really inspiring to move forward and take up challenges in our day-to-day lives

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