Floating downstream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You end up in sedentary pools on the sides of the stream, clogged with other fish as effectively dead as yourself.
Mind you, it’s not that masses of people float downstream because there are no benefits. Political correctness brings its own perks. First off, don’t think that one doesn’t get used to floating downstream, or even to getting caught stuck in fetid eddies with fellow fish. For selfish motives, such as job advancement and popularity, the feeling of power one has with being “successful”, a “consensus builder”, one can get used to anything, and then, in fact, fool oneself into thinking that one is actually enjoying oneself. The power of it all!
I mean, just think, one only has to look at the few dead fish within one’s self-imposed, extremely limited horizon, those who are with you, floating, unmoving, pretending not to be the flotsam these have made of themselves, insisting that, if anything, in a victim mentality, they are simply jetsam, getting along like everyone else, cleverly doing what one has to do to get along as a victim in this fallen society of ours, pretending all the while not to be depressed and falling into despair, because, in all actuality, one might no longer be reclaimable lagan by way of confession, by way of bearing the fruits of repentance, but lost forever as derelict, beyond the mercy of God and God-inspired compassion of real men (which is never the case as long as we have breath: Dum spiro spero!).
I mean, just think, it’s not so bad, after a while, even if it’s a good while. Not only can we can get used to anything, we can even start to rejoice in the good points of one’s fellow rotting fish:
- Their scales glint in the sun, a rainbow of colors. Such distraction!
- Their stench is actually kind of sweet, complacency of lifestyle!
- The antics of the little parasites crawling in and around them are fascinating to watch, a great pastime. I want some too!
- There’s no stress, no change, no challenge to grow. I’ve arrived!
Swimming upstream is altogether different. One is swimming, sleek and agile, exercised, full of energy, in the middle of the stream, in clear, sky blue, sparkling waters. With deft, lightning movements, one navigates not just around the few dead fish one had been with, but around countless others, always more. Not a pretty sight, but one is instead enjoying enthusiastic freedom, darting in and out, here, then there, always in the clear waters of God’s grace, always in humble thanksgiving. In exhilaration, one leaps out of the water and into the sunshine, high into the air, taking in the view: Wow! Look at those mountains! How tall the trees are! Yikes! A Kodiak Bear! A monster! A demon! An agent of Satan! The bear, of course, eats whatever fish forget humble thanksgiving and trust in their own talents, congratulating themselves for being good, putting others down as worthless, and so rejecting their own redemption by the Son of Man, the Son of God.
There are even more benefits, mind you, to swimming upstream with humble thanksgiving for God’s grace, not only avoiding the bears and avoiding dead fish (though giving them a good example and wishing that they turn around), but also — and this is not selfish — but also rejoicing in the height and depth and breadth, the entire expanse of God’s intimate, joyful love for us. We come to know Him as THE FISH, in Greek, Ichtus, ιχθυς, the letters of which stand for Jesus Christ God’s Son Savior, with the last word being a translation of the first word.
In early centuries under Roman persecution of Catholics, the faithful would get to know each other safely by way of code… by way of tracing out a fish on the ground with a stick, ever so casually, and if the other did the same, ever so casually, one would know that one was safely in the company of a fellow Catholic.
Jesus, like Jonas, was in the belly of the whale, the earth, for three days and three nights, but then was spit out, that is resurrected from the dead. He suffered like a dead fish, but death had no grip on Him. Jesus is just that good, just that kind, to us, who have all been dead fish, floating downstream, but whom He has saved, to have us swim upstream, with Him, with agility of soul, rejoicing.