Sunday, January 29, 2006

What's your life metaphor?

I've recently started reading "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. In chapter 5, he asks the question: What's your view of life [your life metaphor]?

He goes on to say that some people describe their life as a carousel, circus, minefield, roller coaster, puzzle, card game (you have to play the hand you are dealt), etc.

It's your description of how life works and what you expect from it. ... It determines your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals, and your priorities.

I'd have to say my life metaphor is a Rocket. I think life, specifically my life but also applies to others, is a very complex piece of machinery that requires the expertise and advisement of specialists from many different people.

I think my soul is the astronaut sitting in the capsule at the top of that rocket, and the rocket itself is all of my life experiences. Some of those experiences are from the specialists from a variety of disciplines that become a part of the rocket. In rocketry, those disciplines would include electrical, mechanical, propulsion, guidance, etc. In life, I'd say those disciplines would be work, home, friends, church, etc.

I have confidence because I believe God is over at Mission Control for my particular mission. For others, they may have transferred that Mission Control over to someone or something else. I also believe that because I'm in such good hands, my journey to the Heavens, as I slip the surly bonds of this Earth, will be a complete success.

Now, as with real rocketry, each component must go through very stringent tests during design, manufacture, assembly and launch preparation before the countdown can go down to T minus 0 and go for launch. Many times there are built in Holds during the countdown for final checks. Life can also be a series of tests, but they are all meant for a reason -- a successful mission.

Even though tests can be difficult, it is always better to endure. I don't know about you, but I don't want to end up as a fireball on the pad or in flight!

So what's your life metaphor? Are you on a sound path? These are questions I think everyone should ask themselves. Let me know what your metaphor is! I'm sure it will be an interesting read, as I hope mine has been.

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5 comments:

John & Sherron said...

Your life metaphor is great! The only addition that I would add to your description is the need to constantly adjust or make small course corrections during the flight. In the case of the lunar landings, small minute course corrections were constantly being made in order to reach the moon at exactly the right time and place. Sin is defined as "missing the mark" as in archery or it could also be equated to space travel. Satan's goal is to get us to miss the mark regardless of how far. Many folks will miss it by a very small margin while others will go in exactly the opposite direction but the result is still the same, a miss. Father's goal is clearly defined as eternity with Him (heaven) but to reach it often requires us to evaluate and correct our course constantly during travel until we have arrived safely!

I will have to think about my life-metaphor and let you know. At the moment I can't think of anything that comes close to yours.

krudgewelder said...

About three years ago I stumbled upon the concept of God living out of the 'timeline'. He's omniscient and ever-present. He is the past and the future. So when we complain about the impending doom of a bill that must be paid or a situation that we don't want to face, it must be completely absurd to Him when He knows what is to come and has perspective of what has come before. It's a frustration to Him (if God feels frustration) as demonstrated in the Old Testament when it talks about the sons of a godly kingdom forgetting where they have come from and falling back into idolatry. Can they not remember that their godly father rescued them out of that oppression? And yet they choose to fall back to worshiping the golden calf!

When Deep Space Nine aired I remember exactly where I was and who I saw it with (Scott, in fact). It's one of the few moments that's burned into my memory so very vividly. At the time all of us were skeptical about the future of the show having acclimated ourselves to the idealistic world of Next Generation. But something captured me about DS9. The captain that wasn't really captain. He'd been given a base assignment almost as though he were being discarded or ignored. He wasn't the best of the best. He didn't deserve a starship command. He was lucky to have a command at all. Why? Because he was stuck in a pattern of hatred and self loathing. Yet, he was a father that understood responsibility and wanted so much to be the perfect father and best friend to his son. But he could not shake out of the blame and grief concerning the loss of his wife.

There's a moment in the premiere episode where Sisko, the captain, and his second in command are traveling through a wormhole and they encounter the wormhole aliens. This image of a small fragile shuttle craft going through this netherworld of pink and blue light streams is an image I've held dear to my heart for many years.

See, there are two issues here that the series takes on as a story arch. The matter-of-fact science minded humans call them the wormhole aliens, refusing to see the wonder in what these beings are; while the local population see them as the Prophets or The Voice of God and refer to the wormhole as the celestial temple. Despite their knowledge that the wormhole is a science explained phenomenon, they continue to live on in faith, celebrating the mystery and wonder. Both cultures held a sense of hope, but what they hoped for were two different goals.

The second issue is in Sisko's relationship with the aliens. They marvel at the concept of linear time. They do not understand that we are so forward thinking and yet cannot let go of the past. Instead of letting the past be part of who we are, we let it control us; those moments that we cannot let go of. They point out to him that he lives in the moment of his wife's death. He exists there. And yet he tells them that he is linear. "That is NOT linear" they point out to him.

So bringing this analogy back to the real world, I cannot tell you how many times I struggle with extremes in my life. I'm either all about imagination and dreams or I'm focused on the task at hand, angered by interruptions. I like to be completely impulsive but I don't like change and relish my consistencies. Finding that balance between the 'science' of life and the 'wonder' of it is very difficult. Both are necessary.

I also have seen the idea of linear versus out-of-phase thinking come up again and again in my life. God's perspective is not our perspective. He has a much larger idea of what is happening in this thing called life and yet we have the gall to question Him as though our limited linear view points give us a better picture. Imagine a detective story where the main gumshoe refuses to investigate. I see the police chief asking him "Don't you want to interrogate the suspects; question the witnesses?" "Nah," the over confident Joe says, "I've already made up my mind as to who did it". That would be a short mystery novel! We're stuck on the time line living according to the expectations of what we can see in the here and now rather than having a future vision. We get captured by past events and instead of allowing them to mold and be part of our lives, instead of investigating and reveling in the mystery, we let the events control us with fear and regret, or with incorrect preconceived notions. U2's song "Stuck In A Moment" totally describes this human weakness--it has become my life theme song.

To me, for the past 10 years, I have seen myself in a fragile little shuttle surrounded by the wonder of bright lights--trying to balance keeping the shuttle flying and yet marveling at the spectacle around me. I'm the linear being so puffed up with himself, stuck in the presence of a non-linear god. Trying to realize the much bigger life that awaits me at the end of the tunnel.

Scotty said...

Thinking a little more on this...

Part of the metaphor is that we are being prepped while on Earth for a much greater and longer mission. The assembly, testing and launch prep (our life experiences) are just the initial part of the mission. When we leave Earth (die) it is the next step for a longer (eternal) and greater mission in Heaven. I do like the idea of course corrections, but in my metaphor, the countdown to zero is the point of death to this life, and launch into the next. I wasn't really thinking about a specific destination once leaving Earth, but that might still work.

I guess I could have also pointed out that maybe prayers=telemetry, Holy Spirit=CAPCOM, God the Father=Flight Director or NASA Chief Administrator. What position would Jesus be? (should He be CAPCOM instead?)

Lot's of interesting things to think about!

J Fender said...

I just read it and read it again. It is really good and very
interesting. It makes me think you are cautious and gathering lots of
input before making decisions. I was trying to think of how to relate
how you are somewhat of risk taker to a rocket. I guess getting on a
rocket is a risk. Really good though. It matches you.

Dawn said...

I think your meataphor fits you well. I do think that sometimes, you don't
have to make everything fit exactly. If you get lost in the details, you'll
miss the overall picture of it.