On Saturday and Sunday mornings I have my twice weekly tryst with Doris.
Doris is our dishwasher, named, at least by me, after my lovably eccentric aunt. Although, of course, Doris, a thing and not a person, is not so much lovable as merely obdurate. For instance, Doris is not to hurried in the mornings. However much I coax, encourage, plead, demand, Doris is unmoved, beyond a few digestive gurgles, and turns an impassive, steely face to the world. I have learned that the best thing to do is something else entirely and pretend that I am uninterested in the dishes being washed, until the magical moment arrives and the machine shudders into life. I just accept that I am not in charge.
That’s the thing; being taught that the world will not do what I want it to, even at the simplest of levels, although we are resistant to the message (“it worked when I set it up earlier” we say to the PowerPoint presentation, in hurt surprise; “have you tried..” say my male relatives clustered around the open bonnet of the car, while my childhood self thinks, but wisely does not say “couldn’t we find someone who actually knows what they are doing?”; “Couldn’t we hurry up” thinks my ever bemused very young self as Mum minutely examines things in the Supermarket freezer cabinet, testing their size and heft and something quite unimaginable, and then doesn’t buy any of them.
As I said, the world is resistant to what seems obvious, which is what Jesus relentlessly shows his disciples. Having turned their boats into an aquatic Speakers’ Corner, he, the carpenter, shows them, the fishermen, where to find a catch. He the landsman takes these sailors across the lake in a storm and he thinks food can be found in the middle of nowhere. He makes friends with all the wrong people. He is not practical, not sensible, but instead he shows Simon how to become Peter.
Put out into the Deep, he says; let go and do not be afraid.