I made a mistake. I asked God to either make this adventure into a good story, and one characteristic of a good story is that it requires sacrifice. As I sat on the porch of a neighbors pulperia, tasting the forest meat that we hunted earlier that day, I asked Juan what he thought it would cost to buy the materials for our ship. He thought about it for a while.
“Costara, mas o menos, tres millones de colones.”
“Tres millones!? Pero yo no tengo este cantidad de moneda!”
“Cuesta mucho hacer un bote asi. Un galon de pintura cuesta como venticinco mil.”
“It will cost, more or less, $6,000.”
“$6,000?! But I don’t have that kind of money!”
“It costs a lot to make a boat like this. One gallon of paint costs like $50.”
I went home that night disheartened. $6,000 is a lot of money to spend on a boat that may or may not actually work. If I could be completely assured that I would succeed, I could justify the $6,000 easily, but it is harder to risk that kind of money on a pipe dream. As I fell asleep I resolved not to think about the ship anymore unless I magically came across some source of funding.
My resolution lasted about 12 hours. After I finished mowing the lawn with a weed eater this morning, I started thinking about my promise again. Is my word valueless? Is keeping a promise to a friend not worth the risk of loss and failure? What about Juan? Is it not worth $6,000 for him to have an adventure and finally get to see the United States? What about me?
I imagined myself at the end of my life, thinking over all the memories that I love and all the relationships that I cherish. As I lay there on my death bed, will I say, “I sure am glad that I saved that $6,000 to go toward a nicer camera and a better apartment?” Or will I look back and say, “Remember when my friend Juan and I built a ship and sailed to the United States together? Remember when I did something crazy to keep a promise to my friend Amanda? Remember what it was like as Juan and I pulled up to the share in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and all of my friends were there to meet us? Remember Amanda’s face when we pulled around the bend and the town of Valdez swung into view?”
I have to spend some time thinking about this. I want to commit to this adventure, and I think that is what I am supposed to do, but before I can go for this completely I need to talk to my wise counsel. I need to seek the advice of my elders.
Good stories involve risk.