A quick Google search for metaphors for life brings many results—life is a journey, a bowl of cherries, a box of chocolates, a maze, a string of beads strung randomly, a chemistry set, a jigsaw puzzle, a roller coaster, a rodeo. . . and so the list goes on. No doubt you can add several more metaphors, or perhaps make up your own.
On Christmas day I found a well–known one with a new twist when I enjoyed a scrumptious lunch with my husband and friends at Anna's Kitchen, a restaurant which offers delicious food derived from Italian and French cuisine, all served with a South African flair. After the meal we took a walk outside. A statue of a young woman stood in the centre of the courtyard. She held a book in her hand, and at her feet was a plaque bearing a metaphor "Life is a book. . ." Hmmm, nothing original about that. We've all heard about how we are the authors of our own stories with a blank page to write on every day. But then I realized that pages were spilling out of her book into a heap on the ground. The sentence on the plaque continued "and we drop pages as we go." That certainly put a new spin on the adage.
What does it mean?
Perhaps it's an illustration of the times when life gets too much for us and we lose control. We fall to pieces like the girl's book.
Perhaps the dropped pages are the memories we cast off with time. We cannot possibly remember each moment of our lives. Yes, it may well be true that all our memories are stored in our minds, but we cannot access all of them. We can only bring a small fraction of them to life.
Perhaps they mean that we have to let go of some things in life—leave them behind so that we can go forward and live positive happy lives. Cast off grudges, mistakes, failures, hurts and unforgiveness. It is important to learn from our life experiences and become better people with richer lives, but these things can also hold us back and make us unhappy, bitter, and twisted.
All of these ideas hold truth, but, for 2017, I choose to think these dropped pages represent my impact on the lives of those I come into contact with—the legacy I leave in the world. An act of kindness, a word of encouragement, an anonymous gift, a note of appreciation, a listening ear or a comforting presence are all pages that can make the world a better place. For me, as a writer, dropped pages are not just figurative, they are also real pages. Pages filled with words that I write—my letters, emails, blogs, articles, stories and books.
It is my prayer that God will use my dropped pages to draw people closer to Him.
And now, over to you. What is your favorite metaphor for life? What does "Life is a book, we drop pages as we go" mean to you in 2017?