Somerset Times

Modern Relevance in Ancient Proverbs

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 1, Term Three, 2020

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The same sun that melts wax hardens clay. The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg.

These two simple and quite ancient proverbs have the same powerful message for us today. The uncertainty, anxiety and disruption of COVID-19 that arrived so suddenly and lingers ominously is a force that will impact all of us, but the good news is that we can influence how.

2020 - T1 - W8 - chaplain soup

Wax, clay, potatoes and eggs are unable to move away from the sun or water, and they certainly cannot change their composition. We humans can. We have an enormous ability to adapt to the pressures on us and the threats to us to both minimise the harms and maximise the opportunities. Our likelihood to do this, and to be successful in it, have much more to do with how we are composed than the burning forces that are applied to us.

When we encourage our minds to find the positive in every situation, to grasp hope whenever it presents itself, and to seek forgiveness and renewal for when we have failed, we build walls of resilience and unlock the pathways to growth.

Sadly, life is so busy, and the pressures on us seem so great and multiply so quickly, that our minds follow the line of least resistance and fixate on the negative. We become mentally occupied with our weakness and the weaknesses of those around us, we incline towards noticing hurts and slights far too easily. Hence our composition is weakened and consequently our joy and effectiveness are dulled.

To counter this, we need to enable our minds to feed on information and inspiration that nourishes positivity and hope. Let’s choose to read the stories from history that uplift us, to take note of the wonders of the natural world that make us awestruck and to celebrate every positive human interaction we have in a day. Let us allow the revelations, practices, promises and community offered by our Faith to influence us daily.

Of course, as with most things in life, it is not that something is true or right that make it a reality. It is that the thing is done.

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