Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Be A Fish...

   So much to say, so much to convey. As I travel down this journey I am one, pursuing God and God's best for me, and our church moves through an amazing week of Vacation Bible School using the theme of the ocean and all of its creatures, the writing below caught my attention. Read and consider this passage from Prayer by Simon Tugwell.

So often we are too full of what we think should be happening to us in our spiritual lives to notice what God is actually teaching us. We must be still enough, simple enough, humble enough, to let him plan the course, and use whatever opportunities there may be for our instruction. We must not think that as we progress in prayer everything will necessarily become much more overtly holy. What it will become is more simple, more humble, more actual.

St. Ambrose gave his congregation some very good advice. Using the old Christian symbol, he compared them in this stormy world fish swimming in the sea. And to them he said, “Be a fish!” We must learn how not to be swamped by the situations that we find ourselves in. We must learn  learn how to get through them with a minimum of damage, and a maximum of profit.

One aspect of this is simply learning to get through situations, and not always take them with us. There is a story told of two monks in Japan, "travelling down a muddy road together. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross at the intersection. 'Come on, girl,' said Tanzan. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido, his companion, did not speak until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. 'We monks don’t go near females,' he told Tanzan, 'especially not young and pretty ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?' 'I left the girl there,' said Tanzan, 'Are you still carrying her?'

We must learn to pass through situations like a fish, rather than carrying them all with us like a snail. We should certainly emerge with a little bit more experience of life, but there is no need to carry more with us than we have to – each situation carries quite enough trouble with it by itself!

   Oh, that we would travel as one who moved through life not carrying around the weight of the world, but learning and leaving it behind us. Oh, that we would be like fish who move with a minimum of damage. This is my prayer for myself, and I extend it to you. Grace and Peace in the name of the One who passed this way that we might learn to live with abundance!

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