The Norman Transcript


October 11, 2012

The Lifesaving Station (a modern parable)

NORMAN — “On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often happened was a makeshift lifesaving station. Its devoted workers went out day or night, searching for the lost and saving many lives. Soon, the little station developed quite a reputation for its unselfish work. Many people joined the station, giving of their time, money and effort for the support of its work. They bought new boats and trained new crews. The little lifesaving station grew.

Then, some of the new members of the station grew unhappy because the building was crude and poorly equipped. So they enlarged the building, replaced the emergency cots with comfortable beds, and put in some nice furniture. Soon the station became a popular gathering place for its members. Most of them lost interest in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired a professional crew to do this work.

One day a large ship was wrecked off the coast. The hired lifesaving crew brought in boatloads of people. They were wounded, dirty and sick. The beautiful new building was soiled and damaged. So the property committee had a shower house built outside the club where shipwrecked victims could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting, club members got into a big dispute. Most wanted to stop the lifesaving work because it interfered with their regular activities. But some members insisted that lifesaving was still their primary purpose. However, they were voted down. The majority told them if they wanted to save lives, they could start their own station down the coast. They did.

As the years passed, this new station also developed into a club, and a third lifesaving station was founded. If you visit that area today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the coast. Shipwrecks still happen, but most of the people drown in the stormy waters just off the shore.” — Frank G. Voight

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