To Catch a Metaphor

By October 20, 2009 language No Comments

creative stretch button2Metaphor catching isn’t easy. They can be sneaky, tough to follow. But that was the task before us in Creative Stretch #3. So I grabbed my gear and got my hunting tools ready.

First, you have to know what you’re looking for. So I kept my mind fixed upon the definition given by Webster’s:

Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.

And then I kept my heart’s lamp set on the God of all wisdom, the One who spoke breathtaking tales of parables never before heard. Jesus is the Author I want to emulate.

With these filters in place, I set out to catch a metaphor.

I looked in all the obvious places. In the sky. In the waters. In the clouds. In conversations. In the hum of our household appliances. In kids. In my work. In the costumed participants of a 5K race.

In all those places, no metaphors could I find. They must have heard me coming and took cover under the rocks and behind the curtains.

My tracking skills must be off, I thought.

So I looked to my husband. He’s got a keen eye for such things. (Under his practical exterior, he’s got the heart of a creative.) I was right to ask him for help on my metaphor hunt, for he had already caught one while he was in Chicago. Here’s what he trapped for me.

Chicago has many homeless people, many who approach unknown passersby for a cash handout. To whom should we give? Whose life stories do we trust? Are we funding addictions rather than meeting needs for food, clothing, and shelter? Such questions abound when approached for help—because we do not know the thoughts and intentions of another person’s heart.

What if we give and it’s to their detriment? If we give will they have what they need to get off the street? Such questions abound because we do not know if the people we help will be helped enough so they don’t have to come back and ask again tomorrow. We want to give more than a momentary handout; we want to give the gift of a new life.

People of all means approach God for a handout. They don’t know Him, but they come to submit their requests. They want more money, more attention, more popularity, more notoriety, and more success. They want better relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. They want world peace and food and clothing and shelter. And a puppy.

Sometimes, in God’s providence, these requests come to fruition. But ultimately, God wants to give more than a momentary handout. He wants to give the gift of Life found in Jesus Christ.

Even so, God quite often bestows blessing upon those who just want the handout. It’s this love without strings that we need to mimic as the Spirit leads us.

And that’s what was found on my metaphor hunt.


Read Other Creative Stretch #3 Posts
What sort of metaphor did you catch? Share it in the comments or leave a link to your post and I’ll add it here.

Watch for the next Creative Stretch—coming soon!

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