Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Metaphors for Life

I have been thinking a great deal lately about metaphors. If you are not an English major, and I was not, a metaphor is like a simile. (Some of you recognize that as funny.) Basically a metaphor is something that describes without using the words like or as. They are figures or symbols which tell a story.

I was thinking about my life last night when a metaphor came to my mind. It is a little image that I recognize has, for better or worse, come to symbolize some very emotions in me.

I have a brick on the file cabinet in my office. I got it when I was a youth pastor and took a group of students to Isleta, Mexico. It is a brick that was made at a very rustic, poverty stricken factory we visited. Every person on the trip received a brick. It is multi-colored, rough, and uneven, but in many ways it is very beautiful. And I have found recently that it paints a picture of me that is reflective of my own personal narrative.
· The brick has a basic shape, but is very uneven.
· The brick looks strong and sturdy but it is actually fairly delicate.
· The brick will flake and the clay will fly off if you rub your hand against it.
· The brick stands as a memorial to a different part of my life.

Here is how it reflects me. I have a basic shape and worldview, but I can be uneven in some areas. I hate seeing my weaknesses show up. I can be uneven in my emotions and in my attitudes. I can fly off the handle at the smallest things and other things tend to roll right off my back. I long to be more stable

On the outside people assume I have it all together. Most people see me on Sunday when I am “on.” However Monday through Saturday I feel fairly vulnerable. I need to stand with others in order to have any true strength. One brick may seem strong on its own, but its true strength comes when it is placed alongside other bricks.

When I get hurt, part of me dies. The clay of this brick flies away when you rub it. When I get hurt or rubbed the wrong way, part of me escapes and disappears. It is a painful and lonely place at times.

The brick reminds me of a special trip to a special place with a group of special people. I want my life to be a memorial for Jesus Christ. I want people to look at me and see Christ. I want to be a reminder of God can do with one simple little life.

The brick I have was shaped and created by humble people, living in poor conditions simply trying to survive. I was shaped and created by the Master of the Universe, the infinite God and the one who loves beyond all compare. As David said, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

What is the metaphor for your life?

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