The Shaping of Us
There is something fascinating about driftwood. It’s lighter than it should be, yet strong and durable. Weathered and aged, yet youthful and beautiful. It never fails to call my attention when it washes ashore. One small piece demanded picking up. It was a perfect miniature canoe, cigar-shaped and sized with a space hollowed near the center for a tiny mouse to paddle homeward. I set it in my hand where it perfectly balanced, as it would on a wave or on display on dry land.
I pocketed my treasure, well, I would have, if I’d had pockets. Instead, I tucked it into the waist band of my running shorts and promptly forgot about it. Until after I had sprinted up the mountainside in a rainforest downpour and the small canoe, drenched and darkened fell out upon the floor, undamaged, but for its folding.
Its folding. Softened by the rain and compressed for the journey, it was sorely misshapen. It still had the look of a canoe, but it listed badly and tipped when I tried to set it upright. It had been so perfect. Now, it was deformed. I felt responsible.
I know! I will soak the poor craft and re-shape it to its old form!
Sure enough. Water makes it supple and the hollow makes it pliable, but the hand that shapes, well that’s the rub. It needed molding and holding, but I was more bend and press. It requested patience and care, but I was more fold and prop. This treasure needed a loving hand to roll it and tamp it and stand by while it dried. My ingenuity and a friendly yellow straw were poor substitutes.
How grateful I am that the hand that is re-shaping me is not mine.