A STUBBORN PERSON SAILS IN A CLAY BOAT. It’s easy to smile at the image in this African proverb. The problem, though, is that our good humor doesn’t stop us from being rigid and inflexible when dealing with our own particular “clay boat.”
We stubbornly cling to so many things. What we’ll wear. Where we’ll live. What we’ll eat. When we will sleep. The people we like. The people we don’t like. The things we’re willing to do for others and the things we aren’t. We might even think that religious believing is asking us to do something boring and conventional—maybe even commonplace. And that is where we are truly wrong.
God didn’t send His son to commend us for living the way we’ve always lived or to tell us to continue doing things the way human beings have always done them. The natural world and our life in it is itself a “clay boat.” And it is time to stop trying to make this life be something it isn’t. Who we really are lies in a different place. And the Lord is ever calling us to look and to listen, to “understand” with our heart and to “turn” (NRSV Matt. 13:15)—to let go and to allow change.