Monday, February 13, 2006

Another Metaphor

Okay, today’s metaphor is brought to you by Amy’s Mom. It’s cool, we can talk about her, she only made it to the blog once, and even then I suspect it was because she liked the baby picture of me in the corner. She hasn’t figured out the ballerina picture went up last night. If you are friends with my Mom, please feel free to tell her what she’s missing by not visiting this site more often. Because if she starts reading this stuff, she’ll get freaked out. And folks, the game of Freaking Mom Out never gets old. Never. Yes, it’s completely juvenile and I really should grow up. But to freak out a 4’11 woman who also happens to be your mother is COMEDY GOLD! Ha ha ha.

Anyhow, Mom told me this story once of her days at summer camp. The name of the camp is so perfectly ridiculous, I’m not even going to try and cloak it. It’s Camp Merrymeeting, located on beautiful Merrymeeting Bay. Mmmph. Mmmph. BWAH HA HA HA!

In those glorious sepia toned days, when manners were manners, and carpets came in the color of puce, and everyone wore those silly looking swim caps when entering a body of water larger than their bathtub, in order to achieve the status of White Cap in your swimming class (It’s the highest level you can achieve, don’tcha know), you had to swim from one side of Merrymeeting Bay to the other. It’s probably not as wide as the Amazon, which is what I immediately thought of when she told me the story, but it’s wider than one would think, because your swim instructor and a Designated Swim Buddy would be paddling in a canoe beside you.

The instructor would paddle the canoe and the Designated Swim Buddy (Mom’s best friend named Bunny. Not lying. That’s her name) would be cheering you on. “Go Amy’s Mom! You can do it! Put a little power to it!” and should you get exhausted before reaching the other side, they’d haul you into the canoe and you’d go back to shore and everyone would laugh at you and call you names. Okay, no. They wouldn’t do that. But I’m sure there was an element of shame involved. It’s CAMP, for Pete’s sake.

Anyhow, I carried that image of swimming across the Bay around with me forever, as my Writer Brain had magnified it to the point where it would make a really cool scene in a movie and it would look like THIS especially if it was at sunset (which is retarded, because nobody would run the risk of the sun going down before you made it to the other side) and you could hear the swelling violin strings as our little swimmer paddles and paddles and paddles her heart out because she’s NOT gonna give up! NO! That White Cap status is HERS, dammit! (although, you'll note in the picture that there are two people in the canoe, and nobody in the water. Uh-oh.)

A sidebar: when I was quizzing Mom on the details yesterday, I discovered just how tricky it is to have a Writer Brain. Because for the longest time, I thought it was Mom who was going for her White Cap status. It wasn’t. Mom’s not that strong of a swimmer. Mom was Bunny’s Designated Swimming Buddy. Mom was in the canoe paddling, and it was the counselor who was cheering Bunny on, “Go Bunny! You can do it! Put a little power to it!” And Bunny did indeed do it, and the White Cap status was indeed hers, and I learned to always check my sources. (I told Mom that she was sponsoring the metaphor for today’s blog entry. “Hmmmm” was all she said. She’s not gonna read it. Somebody please go to her house and bookmark it on her computer, because she doesn’t know how to do that either. It’s amazing she even knows how to turn the thing on. Cause she’s not tall enough to see over the table. HORRIBLE! I’m taking the express train to HELL, I am.)

ANYWAYS. When I started working with Counselor Gladys last year, and when she kept urging me to figure out what I think God is like, what do I think God is like, the Merrymeeting Bay scene suddenly smacked my head.

And I explained it to Counselor Gladys like this: You’re you. Merrymeeting Bay is Life. You’re in Merrymeeting Bay, and you’re swimming for the other side. God is in the canoe next to you, “Go Amy! You can do it! Put a little power to it!” and I’m swimming, swimming swimming I think I can, I think I can, oh wait, I’m cramping up. Shit, I’m going under! I’m gonna drown! GLUB GLUB! HELP! And only then would God lean down and help out with some well-placed providence. And yes, I appreciate the well placed providence, I’m slobbering with gratitude over it, but now I feel bad, I feel stupid, that I couldn’t make it to the other side of the Bay on my own, that God had to lean down and help. ‘Cause you don’t get the White Cap status if you get an assist from a canoe.

So I told all of this to Counselor Gladys, and she said I was wrong wrong wrong. Kidding. They don’t ever tell you you’re wrong wrong wrong. They go “Hmmmmm” and gently suggest a different way of thinking it. What Counselor Gladys said was that it’s not that you’re in the water and God’s in the canoe. God apparently hauled you into the canoe before you even pushed off the shore, and you’re sailing the balmy seas of Merrymeeting Bay together, and when you only saw one set of footprints in the sand it was when He was carrying you, and blah blah blah.

It’s a lovely metaphor. It is. I’m not saying it’s not true. But most days, it sure feels like I’m the only one in the boat. Which is an improvement, because I used to think I was in the water and God was laughing at me in the canoe. And He probably still is laughing at me, we're just both in the canoe and I think I'm the only one in the boat and He's going "I'm here! I'm right here!" waving His hands in front of my face, jumping up and down, boing, boing, boing.

It's an improvement, believe it or not. Mom would be so proud, if she ever got around to reading this blog. I bet Bunny knows how to look up a blog. Hi Bunny! Hi!

1 comment:

RTatum said...

Amy--
Your stuff just keeps getting sharper. And I adore the ballerina picture.

--Tatum