“I come too far, Irish, I can’t give up.”
— Muse (played by Barkhad Abdi) in Captain Phillips (2013)
FAMILIAR EXPERIENCES are something we have familiarity with in life. One of these experiences is venturing into things – things that are wrong – for too long. Too long generally means beyond the point of no return. It reminds me of Space Shuttle launches – the familiar catch cry: “negative return” – this is the moment, post-launch, at almost precisely the 4-minute mark, as the shuttle is doing 5,000 miles per hour, when the crew must acknowledge they cannot return to the Kennedy Space Center.
The quote above, from the motion picture, Captain Phillips, casts the pirate leader, Muse, in the light of desperate man who has glimpses of reasonability. When Captain Phillips tells him there is no use in continuing, Muse reveals his own plight – he has gone beyond the point of no return. The Somali pirate has his bosses to satisfy. Even though he’s hijacked a cache of $6 million last year, he’s still doing the desperate work of crime to satisfy his warlord boss, Garaad.
We, like Muse, sometimes find we have come too far; and we can’t give up. But it is better to walk away from some things having lost than go all the way and lose everything!
Four Strategies for Backing Up and Getting Out of Trouble
1. Be Direct: sometimes God’s revelation of our circumstance gives us the courage that goes with his provision to be direct, and we back out in the plainest of senses. Remember to be bold and to keep turning back and God’s blessing will rest upon you.
2. Negotiate: take the time to plan to negotiate with all the resources and knowledge you have at your disposal. It’s amazing how much God is prepared to equip us with when we are heading in the direction of his will.
3. Move Away With Conviction: without telling anyone, and without advising in any way, if the thing you are doing is dark, move away from it with conviction, and, if possible, cover your tracks for your own self-protection.
4. Lie! Well, we are always supposed to tell the truth, aren’t we? Yes, but as a last resort, to save ourselves or others we must reverse the flow of the regression into something dark. It is better to lie and go toward God than tell the truth and keep moving in the path of that freight train coming your way.
Getting ourselves in over our heads is a mistake, but worse than that is persisting to the point of losing everything. It is better to back out and lose what might be gained than go all the way and lose everything.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.