One of the serendipities of blogging continues to be the other bloggers who encounter my blog leaving me a trail back to theirs. So many rich voices with the word in season for me that otherwise I would never have heard.
Jennifer Stuart and her blog Enjoy Life for Once is one of the richest such serendipities for me.
I do believe I love her.
Seriously! Over this past chemo-laden year her voice, though not directly addressed to me, has repeatedly been quite directly addressed to me, meeting me, filling me, giving me a much needed laugh, gratifying me with her insights into everyday items and occurrences and playfully exploring them, looking for something deeper. A true Rafiki spirit who “looks harder.” She blesses me. As I’ve commented on her blog before, she often makes me belch with satisfaction, because I simply have no words to add. You might check out her blog sometime. You just might find the same thing. You might even belch.
Her post, Running Toilet: The Rorschach of Household Problems is the most recent case in point. She’s really not trying to be deep, to drip with heavy spiritual and metaphorical implications and applications. She just manages to. But in a very playful, unassuming way (“Maybe this is all just new age hippie crap,” she frequently muses). Anyway, read the post, and for those who don’t and won’t take or have the time, it’s essentially a musing about a running toilet, and finding an unexpected metaphor. In a toilet. A running toilet. I can hear it now: “The kingdom of heaven is like a toilet, a continuously running toilet…” Yes, I would not be surprised if Jesus went there. Okay, just sensed a double meaning…quickly on to Jennifer’s analogy:
What if this was a metaphor of something?
This running toilet was interesting. I didn’t realize that you could just turn the water off to make it stop running, turn it back on, use the toilet, and then turn it off again. It was like empowering magic. Do I have something that’s constantly running in my mind, something that ends up doing more than it should and causing problems because of it? Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. It’s called fear about the future. It’s always running, overflowing, doing more than it needs to. A small amount of that fear can be fine in some situations. It helps me to be careful, to be safe, to take account of what’s happening and choose my actions accordingly. But too much of that fear constantly running is just a waste of energy and creates an annoying noise in the background. So I started applying what I learned about the toilet’s water system to my own fear. Turn it off. Twist the knob, make it stop. I can turn it on when I need it, but there’s no need for it to be running constantly.
Her musings prompted this comment from me:
Jack: I think this place means something.
Sarah: This place means–?
Jack: This place is brimming with significance! That’s the problem with this whole damn road!
Jack: Me-ta-phor, man! You’re out walking all alone and suddenly you see a dogfight by a cheese farm. What does that dogfight mean? And despite its literalness, the idea of a pilgrim’s journey on this road is a metaphor bonanza!
Sarah: Well, Jack, maybe a dogfight near a cheese farm is just a dogfight near a cheese farm.
Jack: Ahhh! Okay. That’s good…that is very good. Maybe I should adopt a more conservative attitude instead of trying to trickle meaning out of every curve in the road…oh Christ!
Jennifer, this is not new age hippie crap. Really it’s not. It’s having the eyes to see beyond the literalness that surrounds us. To look harder, to playfully look deeper. Yes we can get weird with it. And yes we may even be committed one day if we look too hard and too deep for too long. But the fact is that the journey we all share is quite literally a metaphor bonanza. Most of us are just too dimwitted (aka sophisticated) to even go there. Glad you do. And I’ll be musing on that running toilet for a while. Thank you. As always. I once again burp out my satisfaction as I exclaim, “Dear God, where does she get this stuff?” )
A metaphor bonanza.
Yep. That’s where we live, alright.
May we all, like Jennifer, be blessed with eyes to see more of that bonanza. Daily.