April, 1990, with friends at the rope swing at Little River Canyon in northeast Alabama
“This looks easy enough,” I said to myself, but loud enough for Todd to hear.
“All you have to do is run down the hill, swing out over the water, let go, catch the Frisbee, and land in the water,” he said. “What’s there to worry about?”
“Other than the Civil War-era rope?” I replied.
Well, turns out, the letting go part. I ran down the hill, swung over the water, tried to position myself for the Frisbee, but I just missed my window to let go. Letting go at this point would land me in the middle of the rocks adorning the base of the cliff. So, I held on and slammed into the side of the canyon. I missed the Frisbee but caught plenty of grief...and lots of laughter.
I’ve just recently returned from a week at the beach with family…and now I need a vacation. Anyone relate to that? Relaxing is hard work. Fights over goggles, 120 degree pavement, and the endless supply of sand on the floor, in my sandwich, and in my bathing suit. These are rich people problems. How blessed am I that I can afford to take my family on a beach vacation in the first place? Immensely. And yet, in my fallen nature, it’s hard, sometimes, not to succumb to the weight of all the uncertainty swirling about. It’s hard, sometimes, to appreciate every moment I’ve been given rather than focus on the thorns in my side – or the sand in my pants. Anyone relate to that?
Application: the act of putting something into operation.
There was a particularly hairy man at the pool one day…which was unfortunate. For earlier in the day, as fate would have it, my wife and then 6-year old son William had had a conversation about cavemen. [clouds forming] So when William’s gaze fell upon the particularly hairy man, he exclaimed, “Look mom, a caveman!” Wanting to crawl under a rock, my wife, reluctantly, looked in the direction of William’s outstretched arm and pointed finger. And there he stood. The particularly hairy man. [slight rolling of thunder] And before she can apologize to this mildly wounded soul, William delivers the coup de grace, “Hey man, I thought you guys were extinct?!” [full-blown storm] That was five years ago and at least three of us are still laughing. Possibly – doubtfully - a fourth. We’ll likely never know.
On a particularly rainy day in Nashville, I commented to a young friend of mine that it was raining cats and dogs. He looked at me like I had five heads. Recognizing the disconnect, I explained America’s use of idioms to my South Korean friend. We had fun with a few others: barking up the wrong tree, counting one’s chickens before they hatch, beating a dead horse, and letting sleeping dogs lie. I had to further explain that not all idioms dealt with animals.