Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hydrophobia: The Scorpion and the Frog

"The nuns taught us there were two ways through life-the way of Nature and the way of Grace." Tree of Life
 
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream.  The scorpion entreats the frog: "Please carry me across the water on your back."  The frog replies: "How can I be sure you won't sting me?"  The scorpion answers: "Because if I do, I will die, too."  This satisfies the frog, so the duo set out, but, in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog sealing both their fates.  As paralysis sets in and the frog begins to sink, knowing they will both drown, he gasps out: "Why?"  The scorpion's final reply: "Its in my nature."
 
Does that story hit home?  Sure it does.  "It's in my nature."  "I never meant to hurt you."  "That's just who I am."  Those cliches all amount to the same the thing: You drowning in the midde of a stream, but, unlike the scorpion in our fable, the Sadistic Fucker who caused your predicament doesn't have to the good grace to succomb with you.  Nope, that's a hellish journey you make all on your own.  Here is the other difference: After we drown, rather than ending up in some sort of afterlife, we find ourselves right back where we started, sitting on the bank of the shore with a pleasant but dangerous stranger begging for a ride.  Now trust me on this, repeated stinging episodes leads severe and crippling hydrophobia.  Once a former swimmer transforms into a hydrophobic, crossing that stream becomes an impossibility.  It's safe there on the shore, but, also, isolating.  Thus, when we find ourselves ready to take on another passenger and dip our flippers in the water once more, hydrophobics realize we need water wings and swim lessons.
 
Take it from me, the water wings are uncomfortable and the stream is still scary, but, what other choice do we have but to take the plunge? We choose either to have faith in the charater of others and care despite the risks or not. Its a choice between Nature and Grace, being the Scorpion or the Frog.  Grace "doesn't try to please itself.  Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked.  Accepts insults and injuries," while Nature "ony wants to please itself.  Gets others to please it, too.  Likes to lord it over them.  To have its own way.  It finds reasons to be unhappy when a the word is shining around it.  And love is smiling through all things."  In my opinion, we each embody both the characteristics of the Scorpion and the Frog.  Every day we choose between nature and grace.  Do we let our affection show or hold onto the memory of the stream?  Right now, I only know this: I have no intention of dying on the shore.

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