Why Bother With an Analogy?
An analogy, according to The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language, states that it is the relationship between two things which are similar in many, though not all respects. I am usually a black and white thinker, that is, I think in literal terms. Sometimes though, when given a little time and space, my mind surprises me, as it did the other day.
My Life is Like a Bike Ride
I’ve been a road bike enthusiast for a while. It all began when I participated in my first sprint triathlon. Riding a bike was not difficult. It was just one of three legs of the competition; running and swimming being the other two. In sprint triathlons, the distance for a bike ride is twelve miles. Later, when I signed up for a standard triathlon, the distance increased to twenty-five miles. Once, and only once, did I participate in a bike FONDO of 150 miles.
Though my competitive days are behind me, I still enjoy riding my bike on the open road. The other day, I chose a 28 mile moderate route with one long steep hill, a few rolling hills and some long stretches of flat open road. It was along a straight stretch while I enjoyed the beauty surrounding me, that my analogy came to mind.
First of all, like picking a route to ride, we get to choose what we want to do with our lives. College, marriage, children and teaching were some of my choices.
Once on our pathway, there will be challenges along the way. The route I chose to take on my bike included a very steep hill, but I have strong legs and I know how to use the gears on my bike to my advantage. I also know that once I get to the top, I can recover by coasting down.
Whichever route we choose for our lives also includes those steep climbs that tax our endurance. But, when under stress or duress, we can always tap into our strengths and find support to help us through.
The flat stretches along this particular route are my favorite. The scenery is spectacular. There are open and green fields dotted with black cows, an expansive sky and blue mountains off in the distance. There is also very little traffic allowing me to hear the birds and the creek that runs alongside the road.
In life there are also those times when it is less difficult and we get to delight in the sights and sounds around us.
Ah but then there are those times when those restful circumstances are interrupted by unforeseen obstacles; the accident, the illness, the break-up. On my bike ride, it was the train. Not just one, but two trains backed up on the track blocking my progress toward home.
Yet, even when these unplanned circumstances hinder our progress, we still have choices and I assessed mine. I could wait, but for how long? I could lift my bike over at the couplers, but since it was a double track, it might be a deadly choice not knowing when another train, going in the opposite direction would whiz by. Finally, I could turn around, retrace my route and cross safely at the other crossing. I listened to the voice of wisdom and chose to retrace my route in order to cross the tracks safely.
Yes, my life is like a bike ride with lots of choices to make, and beautiful scenery to enjoy along the way.
Why bother with an analogy? Sometimes, when given the time and space, an analogy can be a fun and surprising way to think differently about the ordinary.