Monday, May 25, 2009

Cast Your Net on the Other Side of the Boat...

This is one of those stories in the Bible that always cracked me up. The boys are out fishing and haven't caught a thing all day. I've had days like that, but my livelihood never depended on it. So, I imagine they're kind of already pissed when this carpenter comes along and says, "Cast your nets on the other side of the boat."
"What did he just say?"
"I think he just said, 'Cast your nets on the other side of the boat.'"
"Yeah. That's what I heard too."
The funny thing is that they actually do it. So, there are no fish all day, then suddenly there are so many fish on the other side of the boat their nets start to break when they haul them in. I always wondered what those guys said as they were hauling those fish in....

Fast forward 2000 years to a home in Central Pennsylvania where an angry man is trying to install door locks on his home. He is not sure who designed these things, but he has an inkling it might have been monkeys pulling levers or Galilean fishermen. He struggles to match up the screws, to get the two sides of the door to connect. Time after time, he is on the failboat. He says words that would have put those fishermen to shame, words that no one should hear, and they don't because it is "round midnight" and all the smart people have gone to bed and are safely tucked away in a place where the worst thing they face is the nightmare that is this man's reality: a project with no end in sight.

The next morning he awakens to the sound of his wife's alarm clock, which was set for 6.30 even though his wife is away from home with a girlfriend and the only one to hear it is this poor, angry man. Bleary-eyed, he goes to face his sick cat who has thrown up on the floor and is now refusing to eat the medicated food he provides, the man desperately trying to fend off the other flabby tabby who insists that all food placed on the floor is fair game, and therefor must be hers and hers alone.

It is now 6.37 am. The door awaits. He makes a cup of coffee and steels himself for the task at hand. In his mind, he is preparing his arsenal of words for a first round bludgeoning assault on the locks with no ears. He dives in with both hands and quickly the dance begins again. An hour-and-a-half later, frustration, desperation, and anger intermingle in a stew that combines the flavors in such a way that it is impossible to tell where one begins and the other ends and it really doesn't matter because the way this stew looks no one would ever even approach it, much less partake. It is rage stew, and it is on the cusp of boiling over.

The man says out loud, "Okay God, I can't do this any more. I just can't. Can you please give me a hand here?"

A calm comes over the man, a calm which has no explanation, and a voice says, "Turn the lock upside-down." It makes no sense really, but he does it. It looks exactly the same as the other way, but he doesn't stop to consider it. He just does it, like casting his net on the other side of the boat and the lock slides gently into place, the screws lining up perfectly and sliding in as easily as if it were sliding into a pile of freshly-caught fish. The second lock goes even more easily than the first.

The man laughs out loud, the laugh of redemption, relief and realization. He connects a 2000 year dot-to-dot timeline and says what he suspects those fishermen said all those years ago. "Okay, God. Now THAT was funny."

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