I may run like a tortiose, but this isn't a fable.

With the gift of an extra hour ( I love falling back…just don’t talk to me in March when I have to “spring forward”), I decided to sneak in a short run before church. There aren’t many things out there that clear my head, but running is one of them. And it usually takes at least a few miles until my legs hurt enough or the oxygen is all in my muscles rather than my brain before things start to clear out.

This morning however. That was not the case. The longer I ran. The more muddled my brain became.

And it started to sound a lot like my three year old, asking lots of why questions. Things that haven’t bothered me in a while were sneaking their way back in. And I tried turning up my ipod and running faster. But. neither worked.
So, I decided I need to shut this down fast.
(and please don’t act like you don’t have conversations with yourself. We all do it. It is called self talk. And it can destroy or save you. And frankly, I’m tired of losing. So, I decided this morning that I was gonna win this one).

So, I decided to figure out what I was supposed to be learning from all this.
Because God uses stuff. The ick. And the bad and the hard. To teach us lessons right? I figured the answer is to just learn my lesson and it will all go away. And my feet could go back to running without all this nonsense running through my head. So I asked God what I was supposed to be learning.


This is also going to sound a little crazy. But sometimes God talks back. And not like some thunder or voice or burning bush. Sometimes I am not even really sure it is God. It might just be me. Or what I want to hear. Or maybe I am crazy.

But. This time I heard,
“What makes you think there is a lesson?”
Well, because there is always a lesson. The bible is full of them. And the best way to get through a hard situation is to see the good and try to figure out what I’m supposed to be learning or doing different. Which was partly a lie, because mostly I justed wanted to fix my negative thoughts fast and be done with them. I wanted an answer. A solution.

“How about you just see the good. Stop trying to fix things. No lesson”

I was still confused.
There has to be a lesson.

And I suddenly realized that I had reduced God. And his story. And his bible. And his love to a fable.

With the assumption that hard things or good things and any thing is about teaching me something. And well, I’m a teacher. But I’ve always been a horrible student. I made good grade yes. But I was stubborn. And talked back. And skipped class. And have always had a bit of an authority problem. And apparently I’ve seen God as just a “teacher”. And I’m used to him trying to teach me the same stuff over and over. Because I rarely get it the first time. And plenty of people will tell you that Christ was a really good teacher or rabbi or even just a really good man.
And he was.
But that isn’t the same thing as a savoir or a friend.

I was still stumped on this whole – aren’t you supposed to be teaching me something thing.
So I kept arguing. Which is a pretty dumb thing to do with God. (forementioned authority issues.) And kept thinking, but Jesus taught in parables. Don’t they always have some great moral lesson at the end.

But apparently that is just a fable.

A parable and a fable, although similar, are not the same thing. Fables are short, like a sit com. Cutesy. They usually have talking animals. And tidy little moral lessons at the end. That is clearly spelled out. Just ask the tortoise or the grasshopper.
Jesus taught with parables, not fables. And according to my research ( and google totally counts as research). Parables are always about people. The word parable comes from a Greek word, “parabole” meaning comparison. And are used to show some bigger spiritual truth. And they rarely spell out the lesson at the end. It is implied, but you still have to get there by yourself.

In otherwords, Jesus, used stories to talk about people, with things they could relate to, to help explain some kind of bigger spiritual truth. But they usually end in as many questions as they do answers. And he only rarely explains them. No talking animals. No tidy little lessons. Just questions and challenges and some stories to really screw with our current social constructs. And I do mean current – not 2000 years old. I mean really, I still relate to the older prodigal’s brother, I still sometimes think that the vineyard workers who worked all day got jipped and I even think the guy who buried his talents got a bad rap. It’s not like he gambled them away in Vegas or anything. And so there are truths to be pondered. Questions to be asked. And views to be shifted.
None of them can be wrapped up in a cute little one sentence lesson about an ant, or a fox and grapes, or a lion and a mouse. And as I can remember, none of them had animals that could speak at all. And so it turns out, God is more interested in shaping and changing and becoming. He wants me to ask questions and seek and discover.
Not read a cute little story and learn a lesson.
God doesn’t reduce my struggles to a one sentence piece of advice.

God doesn’t tell fables.
Fables are short and fictional and rarely involve people.
Stories are long. And involved. And personal.
And not so much about a lesson and more about a relationship.
Especially love stories.

(And, yes. I’m well aware that it sounds like maybe I learned something after all. Just don’t expect me to sum it up for you in one sentence.)