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Monday, December 1, 2008

#18

Back in the good old days when Dave Matthews Band was cranking out songs like a nickel jukebox, every once in a good while they would cut a song that for whatever reason they gave a number in place of a title. Maybe it was lack of creativity, maybe it was understated humor, but whatever it was, it was cool. If Heinz 57 could get away with it, why not them? And why not me? I give you, dear readers, #18.

I could regale you with the near-Olympic distances the Captain has reached in his projectile spitup fits. But I won't. I could tell of the Captain's (and crew's) withering hatred of I-10's construction zones and the infernal French clogging them. But that's old news. I could clue you into how cute the little guy is when he gets to cooing like a pigeon on morphine. Yawn. I did, in fact, retrieve the entire Court from the Port of Mobile yesterday after having a very nice Thanksgiving with Our People over at the Admiralty. But I pretty much retrieve them every weekend, it seems. Or there's the one where a member the crew makes an absolute fool of himself at an engagement party for Jack's Uncle Jay using a lamp, a rug, and a MUCH shorter-than-anticipated cord (you fill in the rest). Fun and interesting? Sure it is.

But what sticks in my mind about the past week was something odd. You're shocked, I know. The background is that I'm a closet fan of radio and TV evangelists (I think I inherited this trait from my dad). Some are really good, with excellent, Biblical points and honey-smooth voices, and some are the ones with the ridiculous-at-any-point-in-American-history accents with equally ridiculous theology. Well, I happened on the tail-end of a sermon on the wireless set of HMS Tahoe while seriously clipping along a little east of Port of Houston.

So this guy's lesson was on the 127th Psalm, a psalm I had overlooked for a long time (I'll use KJV since that's what he preached out of and it's gorgeous in this passage):

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

His best point, and this dude had many fine ones, was in exploring the metaphor of kids as arrows. When do you aim an arrow? When it's in your hand. Duh, right? But think about that. A lot of parents are trying to aim when the arrow is already in flight. Too late, dad. Too late, mom. Arrows can go places where even the mighty man cannot. They can go or be sent places parents can't go. Talk to people we can't talk to. Do things that we can't do, for good or ill. They can even deal with enemies. Well, of course this is powerful weaponry we're talking about, right? It's a scary thing to me; not only the admonition to "aim" Jack correctly, but knowing that there's a moment coming when I won't be able to anymore. An arrow leaves the string in a hurry.

Having a quiver full of arrows in ancient times was the culmination of many tens, maybe even hundreds of hours of design and hard work. If you've ever taken the time to learn how to build arrows, like I have (and yes I had a lot of free time growing up) you realize how painstaking the process is. Finding the perfect raw arrow shaft, bending it with steam if necessary, getting the sinew or fiber into a workable state, making a point, fletching the arrow, all these things are hugely time-intensive. So you don't just go lobbing these masterfully constructed things just anywhere, and you invest a lot in their preservation and repair.

I kept coming back to that - realizing the immense value of what I have in my hand. For now.

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

WOW!!! Fantastic and what a job we have at hand!

El Comodoro said...

FLASH: By combining three tablespoons of happenstance, a quarter teaspoon of serendipity and a dash of extensive research, your correspondent has discovered the Psalm 127 Radevangelist was Dr. Charles Stanley.