Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday morning metaphors


She’s been home three days now and settling into a bit of a routine.  Therefore, not much new to report each day.  At this point, her progress is marked by little steps:  walking a little farther, eating a little more food, staying asleep a few more minutes.  She has lost so much weight since all this began and I would love to see her reverse that trend. 

The big events of this week are an appointment with Dr. M. and her staff to get the final pathology report and hear about the specifics of the chemotherapy.  That will be tomorrow.  Then on Friday, the chemo begins.  None of us know what to expect, though many have told us of their own experiences.  It is all a big black box at this stage.  I (or someone) will certainly keep you posted as to how these events unfold and how our little journey of discovery unfolds.

And now a brief word about metaphors.  There are all kinds of metaphors people can use for an experience like this, or life in general.  Some examples are …

-cowboy stuff.  A couple of times over the years, we have heard a cowboy preacher talk at the conference center at Cannon Beach.  His speech was peppered with analogies like, “hey, pardner, you’re welcome at my campfire any time” or “God is the trail boss and we’re all His l’il dogies”.  Stuff like that.  He even built a façade of a western town around his fire pit in the south forty at home to lend a little atmosphere to his campfires.

-battles.  The first example of this that comes to mind is St. Paul discussing getting ready to face the enemy wearing the full armor of God in Ephesians 6.  Good stuff. 

-sports.  Fourth and long.  First and goal.  Hitting a home run.  Bottom of the ninth.  Bases are loaded (no, that’s not the inebriated string section at the symphony).  Hitting it into the rough.

These all tend to resonate with certain individuals, and perhaps not with others.  Well, here’s my metaphor that I keep coming back to:  sea voyages.  I have always loved the sea and have been fascinated by the early explorers who set out from a safe harbor to parts unknown on wonderful voyages of adventure and discovery, knowing full well the privations and perils that await them.  In my office, just over my desk, a map of the three separate voyages of Capt. Cook stands sentinel over me.  When things get rough and I am worn out, I look up at the various colored lines depicting his trips and think of what he went through and how things weren’t all that rosy for him (especially when he got to the Big Island of Hawaii).  I’ve immersed myself in books by or about Capt. Joshua Slocum (the first man to sail alone around the world), Ernest Shackleton, Magellan, Richard Henry Dana (Two Years Before the Mast), Moby Dick (read it three times, but it always ends the same…absolutely love it…and yes, I know this is fiction), Sir Frances Drake and many more.

One of the most interesting books about sea voyages that I have come across is Rounding the Horn, which simply details the difficulty of getting around Cape Horn at the tip of South America.  It has some of the roughest waters in the world.  It is also the only part of the globe where there is no land mass anywhere around those latitudes, so the waves can build up with nothing to stop them as they gain momentum and height.  If my oceanography serves me correctly, those waves have a very long fetch.  Not “fetch”, like Neptune telling the waves to fetch this boat to the bottom, but fetch in the sense that the waves travel unimpeded, having a chance to build up a head of steam (a train metaphor thrown in to keep you on your toes).

There is so much about a sea voyage that I can identify with.  You need a sturdy ship, a good crew, a skilled captain and navigator, and a vision of where you are going.  You need to be ready for hardships along the way and be prepared for everything from the doldrums, to intense storms.  Sadly, not all ships make it, but most do, and Gabrielle will too.  And right now, Gabrielle is rounding the Horn.  We are a well equipped ship with great crew (all you folks), a merciful Captain whom we serve and guides us, a sturdy ship, and a lot of faith. 

Thanks for shipping out on this journey with us.

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