the parable of rock and gravel and sand 2

Since I first wrote about the parable of rock and gravel and sand in a previous post, I’ve continued to ponder on aspects of the parable and I’ve also had a few comments from others.  

My writing friend Sue Thomason in an email made some excellent points, more than I bring out here.  She makes the observation that, like the rocks we find while walking, with fossils and without, so are the parabolic rocks in our lives.  She notes, and this is something that hasn’t left me since I first read it, that sand isn’t just the stuff the fills the space between all the other things.  Sand is also the firmament which supports everything else. 

And so I continue to ponder.  Just looking at my own days, I see that this parable has to be dynamic.  From one day to the next, one week to the next, one month or year to the next, the shape of the mouth of our jars changes, and the volume of our jars changes as well.  Some days, I have the space to do some writing and think some mathematics, do a bit of reading and watch a movie.  But those are rare days.  Other days, the time I have to do things is more limited.

I’ve been keeping track of the things I want to view as my rocks, the things I want to view as important, and I am not doing all of them.  My patient, tolerant colleagues in my writing group have nonetheless given up on ever seeing the novel I started more than ten years ago.  I’m still working on it, and I’ve made one of my daily goals to put down at least 500 new words per day, and I’ve been achieved that goal more days than not.  And Fiona has challenged me to finish it by her birthday, and that’s the current deadline.

I also like Sue’s introduction of a bit of geological reality, that rocks get broken down into gravel and gravel gets broken down into sand, and so things can move of their own volition or because of the action of external forces from one category to another.   Sitting and thinking, I see that even though we can sometimes stretch an analogy more than the analogy can reasonably handle, this bit of geological reality is one for fertile ponderation. 

There are some things in my life that have shifted from rock to gravel or from gravel to sand, and a big part of this is that new things are hard to embed into our lives as business as usual.  New things require some focus and effort, on a day by day basis, to become part of the regular everyday.  For me, aikido is that way.  After almost 20 years, it is just a part of what I do, and it is one of the things I make time for, weekend courses or going to class during the week.  Keeping a daily journal has become a part of what I do.  But for both of these, it took effort to create the habits of doing them as regularly as they require.

As all analogies, this one has flaws.  It’s easy to poke holes and to find areas where the analogy is weaker than others, and that’s to be expected.  An analogy is an approximation, missing out details minor and major.  Overall, I think that pondering this particular analogy brings me value and so I’ll keep pondering.

~ by Jim Anderson on 12 March 2017.

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