“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity . . .” – Ephesians 5:15-16
You may recall from Greek mythology the story of Sisyphus, the once legendary king of Corinth who displeased the gods and was sentenced to the outskirts of Hades where his daily task was to push a heavy stone up a steep mountain, only to have to step aside and watch it roll back down again. Sisyphus sadly and hopelessly repeated this meaningless task day after day. He saw no options, only the stone and the mountain.
How easy it is for us in these dark days of confinement, of sheltering in place and social distancing, to feel like victims of the same sentence as Sisyphus. Each morning we awaken to the same four walls and the same drudgery. Our freedoms, it seems, have been taken away, and although we know that this will one day pass as soon as some brilliant scientist develops a vaccine that will put an end to this horrible plague, for now that end is nowhere in sight. So, day after day we push that heavy stone up a steep mountain, only to step aside and watch it roll back down again. As with Sisyphus, there are no options, only the virus and endless confinement. Or are there?
Among Aesop’s many fables is the story about a thirsty crow who had flown a great distance searching for a drink of water. Suddenly she saw a pitcher, so she flew down and noticed it held a small amount of water, but it was so low in the pitcher that she could not reach it. The crow, too weary to keep flying and desperate for water, stretched every which way to get a drink from the pitcher. Finally, she had a bright idea. There were many small stones lying about which she began to pick up one by one dropping them into the pitcher. Slowly the water rose, till finally at last she could get a drink.
“There is always a way out of hard places,” said the crow, “if only you have the wit to find it.” So it is with us. Either we can keep rolling that stone up the mountain only to watch it tumble back down again, or we can put our wit to work to find our way out of these hard times. And somewhere just beyond the “surviving” lies an opportunity for “thriving”, but only for those willing to put their wits to work. “Be careful, then, how you live,” the Apostle Paul reminded the Ephesians, “not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”