A stream was working itself across the country, experiencing little difficulty. It ran around the rocks and through the mountains. Then it arrived at a desert. Just as it crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared. After many attempts the stream became very discouraged. It appears there was no way it could continue the journey.
Then a voice came in the wind. “If you stay the way you are you cannot cross the sands, you cannot become more than a quagmire. To go further you will have to lose yourself.”
“But if I lose myself,” the stream cried, “I will never know what I am supposed to be.”
“Oh on the contrary,” said the voice. “If you lose yourself you will become more than you dreamed you could be.”
So the stream surrendered to the drying sun. And the clouds into which it was formed were carried by the raging wind for many miles. Once it passed the desert, the stream poured down from the skies, fresh and clean and full of energy that comes from storms. (adapted from the Sufi Tales: Psalm Journal, Joan Chittister, OSB).