We’ve all heard these overused expressions countless times.
We’re told that as we “close one chapter of our lives,” and stare at the “vast ocean of our future,” we must remember that “the world is our oyster” and “the journey is the destination.”
While these phrases may have a lasting effect on some listeners, usually the triteness of these metaphors ring louder than their truth.
Still, although it’s easy to throw these clichéd analogies into our pro-verbial sea of forgetfulness, I do think it’s imperative that we realize the vital purpose that metaphors can serve.
In the opening scene of the movie “Gladiator,” General Maximus hints at this purpose.
In a brief yet inspiring speech the Roman general says to his troops “What we do in this lifetime echoes throughout eternity.”
I’m usually not one to turn parts of fiction into doctrine, but I feel compelled to make an exception.
Maximus’ words seem to imply that what we do during our short time on earth transcends the value that any company, community, or even government could ever place on us.
These nine simple words suggest that our actions are a resounding echo, a hint of something greater…a metaphor.
With this in mind, it’s easy to look ahead and view events like graduations, weddings, job promotions and other favorable experiences as everlasting symbols. However, I’ve lived long enough to know that life isn’t only made up of these favorable experiences.
What about awkward elevator rides, bumper-to-bumper traffic, missed connections or a person that dies before their time?
These things don’t seem to echo throughout eternity, but rather quietly whisper in the present.
We’re unable to deduce the metaphoric meaning of these experiences, and thus, their value becomes purely subjective.
Without any objective view, it appears as though our conduct merely clamors against the walls of life and falls to the ground.
It is for this reason that I believe in Christianity. It asserts that our actions and experiences have value when they are directed at an objective source.
Ironically enough, this objective source chose to represent himself through clichéd metaphors.
He’s been said to be a lion yet a lamb, a spring of water yet a blazing fire, a rushing wind yet a still voice. And of all these metaphors, he is most notably a man.
It is in this man that I trust. So whether I’m running wildly in a playground, walking confidently across a graduation stage, sitting idly in traffic, or lying sickly in my deathbed, I will strive to live a life that echoes melodies of praise to my savior throughout all of eternity.