One Good Analogy Deserves Another
As an avid reader of this blog, you know that I enjoy a good analogy.
Or is it a metaphor? To be honest, I get them confused.
Now, if you work in an office or have ever been to an office, then you’ve likely come across a Newton’s Cradle. A Newton’s Cradle is a row of five metal balls, positioned to just touch one another and suspended from a frame by thin wires. When one of the balls are pulled back and released, the device is set in motion. The first ball comes into contact with the second, it stops and the fifth ball is propelled into the air. When this ball comes back down and strikes the fourth ball, the first ball then moves upward. Then the cycle repeats itself.
For many of us, a perpetual motion device is the perfect analogy for the perfect life.
Everything in balance. Everything in order. Everything working as it should.
Once plans are put into motion, they work perfectly.
Everything humming along. Everything in balance. Everything is perfect.
This, unfortunately, is where the analogy falls apart.
You see, a Newton’s Cradle isn’t a perpetual motion device at all. Outside forces have their effect. Friction and heat take their toll. Eventually, the balls stop.
Only in a vacuum can there be no friction.
How many of us operate in a world without friction? How many of us live in a vacuum?
They all take their toll. Our perfect life comes crashing down around us. Life isn’t perfect.
Life is friction.
So while a Newton’s Cradle may be a wonderful analogy for a wonderful life, perfection isn’t realistic. The desire to be perfect can be, in fact, harmful.
Perhaps a better analogy for life is a guitar.
When a guitar is in a state of balance, calm, symmetry and order it isn’t making any music at all. It’s simply sitting there. Silent.
In order for a guitar to make music, stress must be added. Each string must be placed under a state of tension. And each one tuned to a different note. The proper note. Then friction is introduced. The strings are bent.
Does your life seem far from perfect? Does it feel like there is a giant broken cog in the Swiss watch (another good analogy now that I think of it) that is your life?
There will always be pain. There will always be stress. Because it’s in the tension that music can be found.
May you find today, in the midst of the chaos that is your far from perfect life, that music is being made. And may you join with others to bring a song to the world.