Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tangled Nets

This morning I had just been looking at a poem I've been revising for months (OK, years), printing it out to get some feedback on it later this week. It has the ocean in it, "a slipper silver as a fish," and a fishing net.

So what's the reflection about when I get to church? Fishing nets. All right, dropping them to follow the big guy. But enough to make it a Random Coinciday!

Pastor Bob was interested in what would make you drop everything and start a new adventure, and, specifically, what would you need to give up to do so.

This was not leading to an easy equation, nor a conventional platitude: to win big you have to take a big risk, etc. This was a suggestion that we might have to give up a sense of identity. When Simon and Andrew left off fishing, they were leaving a way of life. When James and John stopped mending their nets, they were leaving a family business:

We can safely suppose there were sacrifices involved--psychological ones as well as material, having to leave behind not only their livelihood but something of their self-understanding, too.

If I've thought of myself one way, how do I think of myself a different way in order to grow or try something new? And it might not be the positives I am leaving behind but the negatives. As Bob put it:

But we don't pay as much attention to ideas and attitudes that keep us from more creative and satisfying possibilities.  For instance, what about self doubt?  What about resentments and grudges?  What about taking responsibility for problems that belong to others?   What about the need to please someone who'll never give their approval?  What if some of our mental baggage amounted to the fishing nets those first disciples walked away from to promote a more optimistic and worthwhile agenda for our neighbors and family and friends?

Yes, the nets could well be seen as entanglements, or things we hold onto that can drag us down into the swirling depths, or even drown us. It's hard to swim tangled in a net or lugging a lot of mental baggage.

So this is something I'll be thinking about for a while and hoping to implement. I realized I could report in church today that I had been a good goatherd this week! A guy who could have gotten my goat didn't. I let him talk and let it go. I suppose it could be said that I did not take any responsibility for his problem! He gets to do that! (Poor him.)

Meanwhile, I had some poem acceptances this week, including a poem called "Grudge." I'm not sure what to make of that.


Sandy Longhorn said...

Love these connection, giving me lots to ponder!

Wahoo on acceptances.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Sandy.

seana graham said...

A lovely post, Kathleen. Brings some things up for me as well.

And getting a poem published out of a grudge has got to be the best possible outcome!

seana graham said...

Also, those net photos are really great!

Hannah Stephenson said...

I love these ideas...not just "Hey, we shouldn't think badly about ourselves," but "What could act like/think like INSTEAD?"

It made me think of how I am very unathletic, but I always declare it anew before trying something vaguely athletic. I joined a yoga class this year, and before I joined, I'd said to a friend, "You know, I'm not going to be very good at it...It's not really my thing to do fitness stuff, especially in public," and she (hilariously and cutely) called me on it. She replied, "Well, if you keep that attitude, I'm sure you'll do just as badly as you think." I'm trying to remember this idea that you introduce, too.....what if I didn't worry about being such a crappy athlete (or whatever, actually!)....what would that shift?

Happy acceptance, too, on your Grudge poem!! xo

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I like the idea of those fishing nets as emotional baggage. I've recently moved across the country and found that I was able to free myself of some ways of being I had always fought against..... perhaps just the scale of the move? You've given me something to think about.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Seana. I found the nets at Amazon, of all places! And, yes, I do hope that exploring & releasing grudges in poetry is a good way to handle them, hurting no one.

Kathleen said...

Ditto on the athleticism, or lack thereof. Yet I enjoy swimming and am taking a low impact exercise class (that has some yoga like stretches in it!) Now that I know what Zumba is, I yearn to try that, too!

Kathleen said...

Molly, that sounds exciting and freeing! I did some transforming after a move, too. The external move allows for some internal moves, too.

And then some seeming eternal, or maybe perennial, stuff popped up from the dark, wet ground. I guess I need to see them as the flowering wildflowers I love and/or some that do need weeding or pruning!

Andrea (Andee) Beltran said...

Congratulations on your acceptances, Kathleen, and on being a good goatherd as well! Thanks for sharing this lesson.

Kathleen said...

And thanks back to you, Andee.