Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to explore strange old quotes, to seek out new sayings, and new ways of stating them in a galaxy not so far away. [Listen to our podcast at thequotablespodcast.libsyn.com ]

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Lesson for Today?

If you ever study literary criticism, you will learn about "Reader Response Theory," which basically asserts that the meaning of any text only exists within the reader's interpretation. You can also find this idea in the famous adage, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Both imply that we each experience the world differently. Our perceptions are colored by our own personal knowledge and history.

As an example, I wanted to share a little parable that you may have heard before. As with most parables, there is a commonly understood lesson, but not everyone gets the same message as you will see.

Once, there was a man whose house was caught in a terrible flood. He managed to climb out onto his roof as the waters rose and prayed to God, "Please save me."

After awhile, a man in a rowboat drew near the house and called for the man to grab his rope and come to the boat. "No thank you," replied the first man, "God is going to save me."

Holding firmly to his faith, the man watched the water grow faster and higher. Then, a speedboat approached and the driver called out to him. Once again, the man replied, "God is going to save me."

As the sky grew dark and the temperature fell, the man found himself bathed in the spotlight of a helicopter. A pararescuer climbed down a ladder from the chopper and held out his hand to the man. "No thank you," he said again, "God is going to save me."

Before morning, the man was overcome by the elements and he found himself at the Gates of Heaven. Distraught, he cried out to God, "I had faith!! I believed that you would save me!" To which God replied, "I sent two boats and a helicopter."

The moral of the story (for most people) is that you often get what you need, not what you expect; that God answers prayers in unusual ways. Sometimes, you don't even recognize the miracles in front of you.

However, when I asked my partner Ed what he thought the story meant he said, "If you hold out long enough, you get an upgrade!!"

Dear readers and listeners, next time you find yourself on that rooftop, don't keep waiting for a rocket ship or The Avengers' helicarrier to come for you. Hop on the next little rowboat you see and get yourself out of there.

New podcast episode next week! In the meantime, save yourself financially with tips from Suze Orman on TQ16: Save-ology or enjoy one of the old episodes from the Episode Guide.


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