Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Somewhere in my life I heard the story about the little river creatures who clung to the rocks and plants at the bottom of the riverbed. They lived their lives clinging to the jagged rocks at the bottom of the river, close to the mountain source. The river rushed madly past them as the little creatures hung on for dear life, going about their days clinging from rock to rock, careful never to let go lest the river sweep them away.
One day, one of the braver of the creatures asked what everyone was so afraid of. What was it further down the river that made them so scared? No one could answer. No one had ever been there. No one dared let go of their craggy rocks. Who knows what could be waiting out there in the unfamiliar river up ahead? It could be anything! Better to hold onto the rocks and play it safe.
Not satisfied, the brave little creature did the unthinkable. As the other creatures gasped and cried out the brave little creature let go of her craggy rock and let the river sweep her away. The butterflies in her stomach were fluttering madly. She felt like she was free falling, spiralling out of control. The river carried her along farther and farther and eventually became a bit more gentle in its currents. She glided along smoothly and looked around. Swirling all around her were other creatures like her, somersaulting, colliding with each other and swimming along in the currents. None of them were clinging to rocks.
She asked one of them why they weren't hanging on for dear life the way her creatures did back where she came from. He told her to look at the rocks. She looked. They were smooth. There were no crags to hang onto. Why is that?
As the river rushes down from the mountain it pushes and nudges the rocks along with it. As the rocks are carried along they rub up against each other. The friction of the water and rubbing up against one another wears them smooth.
The creatures down river had learned to embrace friction between the rocks and between one another. Colliding with each other was uncomfortable sometimes, sweet at other times, but always made them smarter, more capable and smoother, shapelier....just like the rocks.
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts." - Richard Bach in Illusions