Fish out of water?

It goes without saying that we are completely dependent on the language of metaphor  to be able to communicate with any clarity.  Often we overuse certain metaphors to the extent that they lose some of their power.  For example, think about the expression “like a fish out of water.”  We’ve used these words so often that they have come to simply refer to a feeling of awkwardness or discomfort in a strange situation.  But, think about the fish that has just between caught—the fish that is flopping around on a dock or pier, or in the floor of a boat.  That fish is not awkward or uncomfortable.  That fish is desperate—quickly dying!  I get a little short of breath just thinking about that scene!

There are times when we search around for different metaphors for describing what we understand about God or the human relationship with God.  In his book The Experience of God, Raimon Panikkar speaks of how human beings are surrounded by God like fish are surrounded by water.  We are “drenched” in God as fish are drenched in water.   The problem is that we don’t recognize or we forget that we are drenched.  We forget that God is that fully present with us—longing for us to know how completely we are incorporated into God’s own being.  When we forget, we may find ourselves flopping around and feeling desperate—like a fish out of water.


About aliceatgrace

I'm the Rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Hopkinsville, KY. When I came here in August, 2011, I discovered that we have a great asset that was being under-utilized, to say the least. We have a beautiful Chartres labyrinth that was dedicated four years ago, and I decided that I would do all I could to promote the use of it. It's now just post-Easter of 2012, and, about a month ago, it occurred to me that our labyrinth is a symbol of what the future of this church is intended to be. We are people on an ongoing spiritual journey together. We like to ask questions, and we don't always have to have the answers. We are confident that God is leading us into deeper relationships--both with God and with the world around us. We invite you to "come walk with us."
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