I recently re-discovered a song by Regina Spektor called “All the Rowboats”. The song starts with these words:
“All the rowboats
In the paintings
They keep trying to row away”
The song then goes on to talk about how those rowboats will never row away because there is always a frame in the way.... however much they want to get away they will get stuck as they can’t see life beyond the edge of the painting where the frame obscures their view.
When people thought the earth was flat, their fear of falling off the edge prevented them from exploring too far.
When you discover life beyond the edge of the frame.... when you discover that the earth is spherical and not flat... it opens up possibilities much larger than your brain can often comprehend. Your world view suddenly expands....
Our tendency to limit our experience means however, that we fill up with fear when the possibilities grow. We live with fear when we see possibilities we have never seen before.
We should never be surprised when we see things beyond the edge of the frame that we have been living within. There is life beyond our own experience that we might find difficult to comprehend, yet is out there for us to explore. I believe in God, who is bigger than the frames we use to limit ourselves, yet we often forget to look beyond our own frames to see what he is doing through the things we don’t engage with.
The world does not revolve around our own picture, limited by the frame we choose to put around ourselves. When we see beyond to the other and the different, the possibilities are endless. I read an article in the Guardian this morning about a church in Stoke where a number of refugees from a Muslim background have been converting to Christianity. Sadly as this has happened some of the traditional white congregation in the church have left, failing to see life beyond their tidy frames that narrowly define what church should be.
Where do the edges of your picture frame lie – where is your experience and your learning limited by your own barriers? Push them out a bit.... row your boat a little bit further.... you never know what you might discover.... you never know what God might be doing..... adventure is an exciting thing.