The Parable of the Waves by Dave Hammer
There were many waves in the ocean that year. Small waves, medium sized waves, large waves, and humongous waves rolled across the surface of the vast body of water that lay between two large continents. Some of the waves had been rolling across the ocean for a long time, some for only a short time, and some for a time in between. There were many more small waves than medium sized waves, and many more medium sized waves than large waves, and many more large waves than humongous waves. In fact, there were only a couple of humongous waves on the entire ocean that year.
As the small waves rolled quietly and peacefully across the face of the water, they would talk with one another because they were so close to each other and had gotten to know each other quite well. They were all much the same in size and shared a number of similarities. The small waves got along with each other quite well. They would call out words of encouragement to one another as they slowly rolled across the surface of the water with words like, “Let’s stay together so we won’t get lonely.” They were content with who they were and had little desire to become larger. They didn’t mind talking with the other waves who were larger than them as well.
The medium sized waves also enjoyed the company of the small waves, but especially liked to interact with their fellow medium sized waves. In fact, the medium sized waves liked nothing better than to try to get just a bit bigger than their fellow medium sized waves. They would call out to one another as they rolled across the ocean, “Hey, look at me! Did you see me just splash right over that smaller wave? Look at me now! I’m even bigger than I was a minute ago.” Sometimes, the medium sized waves would get into arguments with one another as to who was the biggest and strongest of the medium sized waves but usually it was a friendly competition. The medium sized waves were afraid of the large waves though because the large waves would sometimes come crashing down upon them as they rolled across the ocean.
The large waves were the most powerful waves on the ocean most of the time. Even though the small waves and the medium sized waves outnumbered the large waves many times over, the large waves were the dominant waves on the ocean, except for the occasional times when a humongous wave would rise up out of the ocean and dominate the surface of the water. The large waves were very competitive, much more so than the medium sized waves were, and liked to challenge the other large waves to contests. They would shout to one another, “Did you see that? I just crushed those smaller waves. I even took out a few of the medium sized waves. Wow! I feel so much larger.I’m even bigger than you now.” Some of the large waves wanted most of all to become a humongous wave. They had seen the power and strength that the few humongous waves they had encountered possessed and they wanted that for themselves. Not all the large waves wanted to become humongous waves but they were all aware of the influence a humongous wave had on all the other waves of all sizes.
It was late summer when a humongous wave rose up out of the large body of water it was a part of and began to slowly gather speed and size as the winds blew it across the surface of the water. Whitecaps could be seen dancing on the top of its surface and it soon dwarfed the small and medium sized waves. In fact, it was so strong that it often sucked smaller waves in its path into itself, allowing the humongous wave to increase in size and power. This is how it became a humongous wave. As it continued to grow it even towered over the biggest of the large waves and drew them into itself as well. There was nothing that could stop the humongous wave now. Its power was undeniable. Its size was unbelievable. More and more of the large waves saw what was happening and foolishly believed they could become like it if they stayed close to it. Instead they were consumed by the humongous wave and no longer thought for themselves. They willingly became part of the humongous wave, believing that by doing so they too would gain more power and size. Many of the medium sized waves did the same thing, and even the small waves were in awe of the humongous wave. One small wave called out a warning to all the other waves, “Don’t follow it. Stay with me.” But the humongous wave heard it and crushed it with a triumphant bellow.
For days and days, the humongous wave continued to roll across the ocean surface, seeing nothing in its path that could bring it down and nothing that could end its life. It blew through small islands with their tiny hills and scrawny trees without being diminished in strength or size. In fact, as the humongous wave saw the destruction it left behind, it became even bolder and more arrogant. The chaos it was leaving behind was extreme. The other waves saw this and hung onto the humongous wave’s surface, being dragged along for the ride of a lifetime. The humongous wave saw something in the distance that was directly in its path. It was a large mass of land with trees and mountains on it visible far inland. The humongous wave paused for a moment, not sure whether it should continue on its course or change direction and avoid the land mass. Then it thought about how it had rolled over the other parcels of land it had encountered and drew itself up to its full height. It called out to the other waves hanging on to it, “Join me now! You’ve seen the power I have and the strength I possess. If you join me and add your strength to mine, we will be unstoppable. Become part of me and we will never come to an end.” The other waves hesitated for only a moment before willingly giving their own power to the humongous wave that now dominated the ocean.
With a roar the humongous wave picked up speed and drew itself ever higher. Twenty feet, then thirty, forty, fifty feet tall, but even that wasn’t enough for the humongous wave. Without any regard for the other waves, the humongous wave consumed all of them in its vicinity, until it towered well over one hundred feet tall. The wave rushed toward the land with such force and fury that the wind before it bent trees over until the top of their branches touched the land, as though bowing before a great king, queen or emperor. The water that lay before the humongous wave was pushed up onto the land, flooding much of the land that was close to the ocean. Then, with a great shout so loud that it drowned out every other sound, the humongous wave hit the land. With such power and force behind it, the gigantic wave crashed into the trees, pulling them up by their roots and tossing them around as though they were toothpicks. The soil was drenched and soon became a sandy and muddy mess that covered the land thousands of feet inland. And still the humongous wave stretched itself out reaching for the mountains in the distance, determined to make them feel its power as well.
But it was not to be. The humongous wave was in disbelief as it began to feel its power diminishing. It looked down and saw that it was no longer as tall as it had been just moments before. Crying out in anguish the once humongous wave called to the other waves that had been smaller than it and that it considered of less importance than it. “Come to me and be quick about it.” But the other waves were not listening to the humongous wave anymore. Many of them had been absorbed into the land already and were leaching down into the depths of the soil. Other waves sat helplessly atop rocks and hard surfaces, not able to move. Still other waves were retreating back into the ocean, hoping to escape the fate of their fellow waves thatwould not feel the embrace of the ocean for a long time. Not until they had filtered down through the soil and joined the rivers that made their way to the ocean or been evaporated into the sky and formed clouds which released them back into the ocean.
Within a short time, the humongous wave was no more. It was simply mud and slop and small puddles of water without even the smallest of waves on it. The most powerful wave on the ocean had believed it was the ruler of its domain and would never come to an end. But it had learned how wrong it was. It had forgotten that it was part of the same ocean that the other waves were part of.
Meanwhile, out on the ocean, many small waves were slowly making their way across the surface of the water. These were the waves that had not been drawn to the power of the larger waves. These were the peace-loving waves that had no desire to be larger than other waves. While the other waves had been busy competing with one another in an attempt to grow larger and more powerful, these smaller waves had quietly continued their journey across the ocean, enjoying one another’s company and encouraging each other with their words and sense of community and togetherness. As they continued to roll across the ocean, they drew closer to the shores of the islands the humongous wave had damaged and they gently rolled up onto its shores, slowly ceasing to be waves.
Some of the small and medium sized waves passed by the islands and eventually rolled softly onto the shores of the large mass of land that the humongous wave had hit with terrible force and they also ceased to be waves. But these waves that lapped gently against the islands and large mass of land did not cease to exist altogether because they were gently drawn back into the ocean without any doing any real damage to them or the land. Instead they rejoined the vast body of water they were always part of. The ocean was very glad to welcomethese peace-loving waves into its kingdom and realm of peaceful and never-ending existence.
And so the humongous wave learned that it was not indestructible. It was not all-powerful. It was not without end. It was consumed by its desire for power and strength and influence. It could have avoided disaster but its arrogance and pride had led it to its own destruction. Unfortunately, it had overwhelmed and confused a great many of the other waves with its false claims and taken them down with it. Eventually, many of the waves that had been destroyed on the land would end up in the ocean once again, but they did not know that as they lay in the filth they had created. Instead they were overcome by despair as they realized their mistake in listening to and following the humongous wave.
The great and powerful ocean continued to share its bounty with the waves of all sizes that made it their home. This generous, loving ocean would welcome back into it all those waves that had thought they were greater than it and lost their way upon the land whenever they were able to return to it. The ocean did not hold grudges or have any desire to reject those waves that had left it in their desire for more than they thought it could offer. The ocean loved all the waves because all of them had come from it but it was the peaceful waves that were most like the ocean itself.
Meanwhile, the small wave that had tried to warn the other waves of the dangers of wanting to become ever larger and larger waves and that had been demolished by the humongous wave as it rolled across the ocean surface had returned to the ocean as well and rested peacefully in the waters it had always been part of. And the small waves who had been its friends and companions when they rolled across the surface of the ocean together remembered this small wave that had bravely stood up to the humongous wave and thewords of advice this small wave had given them, even though it had cost the small wave its life. Together, these small waves formed a community that looked after one another. They even reached out to the other waves of various sizes, and encouraged them all to forget about the desire to be big and powerful waves. Instead they shared with them the story of the small wave that was willing to give up everything, even its very existence, in the hope that by doing so, it wouldallow every form of life to live in peace and flourish, on the land and in the ocean.