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Metaphors Are Terrible. And Necessary.

March 18, 2021

29 of 40

I’ve nothing else — to bring, You know —

So I keep bringing These —

Just as the Night keeps fetching Stars

To our familiar eyes —

Maybe, we shouldn’t mind them —

Unless they didn’t come —

Then — maybe, it would puzzle us

To find our way Home —

Emily Dickinson

This will be an Easter Year. Our lives are like the bulbs ready to emerge. After a long winter there will be a spring.

Grasping at metaphors seems necessary and fully stupid.

We are in a time of trying to understand the time we have yet to experience. One way or another, for a full year. I am sure this happened for five years 75 years ago, when another war ravaged the earth. But that reality is simply gone along with the last plague 100 years ago.

In a week science says I am safe from the plague. We will eat inside a building with friends. A fully familiar experience a year ago, now bizarre. So I think beyond the joys of emergence and listen for changes.

Many more Americans went to church in the 30 years after World War 2 than before in our history. Many more people partied, drank, and went a little crazy for a decade despite Prohibition after the last plague. Then a decade of Depression.

We know things will change, and we know how things have changed before, and we have all those metaphors. But we know nothing. We use the metaphors and similes even the symbols of our past to give us a reference. But firing a president, ending sequestration, having Alexa tell us to eat breakfast will not answer where we are going.

But we are clueless beyond the next day.

While the world changes, the reality of our days is relentless. What we see and hear is there for us only because it was given to us. Despite our efforts at metaphor, or prediction, even understanding, the complexity and random realities of time are what I am left with.

It has been, metaphorically enough, A Year Of Lent. Only we did not casually decide to safely, comfortably, deny ourselves a treat or two for 7 weeks, we changed everything about our social world to survive. In truth there is no metaphor for that, only attempts to deal with it. With inadequate tools, and incomplete knowledge, we just do what makes sense. No plan, no Winning, no goal of an outcome beyond survival.

But survival is, for me, inadequate. And hopeless.

Any hope has faith as its protector. And faith beyond the clear inadequacies of ourselves leads inevitably to God. Survival, a great bourbon, even bacon are great. But they are not enough. I know because they were with me last year, and I know that there is more. I hope, literally, to see beyond the coming changes and have faith.

No metaphors for that.

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