Tuesday, March 15, 2011
a toy store is no place for a red-painted tugboat
When I was a small child,my favorite Little Golden Book was Scuffy,the Tugboat.With his red body,blue smoke stack and big black eyes,he was real to me.The little boy who owned him took him from the toy store and let him loose in the stream by his house.Not only did he have black eyes but he had a will too and off he went in the Spring flooded creek to find adventure.And did he.He passed cows,women washing their clothes in the water, a town,loggers and finally he got caught in a terrible storm.Happily the story ends with him being scooped up by the boy who hangs off a pier in the city to rescue him.
This story enchanted me because my father made little wooden boats that my sister and I would release in the stream at our summer place and race after before they were whisked away.And the idea of a grand adventure always made my blood flow a little faster.
I thought of this today when I read a poem in my Lenten book,"Orphaned Wisdom",
"Get in the boat.
Don't take out the oars.
throw them overboard.
Let the water carry you
where it will.
Does the suspense
The current knows
where it is going."
And this is the spiritual life and it is frightening,letting go of control and trusting that "the current knows where it is going."
For many years, I held back what I knew was being asked of me,that I give my will and my heart to the Lord.In my naivete, I surmised that I would be sent to Africa where I did not want to go.It was a long time before I understood that if I was sent ,by the time that happened ,my heart would have been so charmed by His Love that I would have wanted nothing else.So I finally said yes and this is as profound an act as one can make.Everything changes and your little boat speeds up and you are now painted in bright yellow,pastel blue,gorgeous turquoise,and your smoke stack flies a flag with streams of gold and glittering stars.Angels and saints applaud your movement instead of washerwomen.
When you let go in this way, your future becomes an unknown.You will find yourself in Honduras taking blood for a diabetes screening.With your heart pounding,you will make a very difficult phone call that you do not want to make and the result will be unknown to you for twenty-five years.You will walk a labyrinth in Scotland and feel a deep peace.On another labyrinth walk it will be revealed that angels walk with you as you pray.An angel will relay a message from a much loved deceased dog.This is an adventure!
We look back at turning points and for me that assent was the most important.As Helen Keller said;"Life is an adventure or it is nothing."