Chihuly Sculpture Exhibit 2014, Denver Botanic Gardens

Everyone must row with the oars he has.

English Proverb

While looking through some books for inspiration for this week’s blog, I ran across a page of quotes my mother had written down. I don’t remember the page or putting it in the book. The quote above was one she’d copied. I lived with my grandparents growing up and although I did see her through the years, I don’t have anything that belonged to my mother other than some photos and a couple of pieces of jewelry. Running across the hand-written quotes was unexpected.

This proverb is often interpreted as a reference to ones talents or limitations. I wonder if there is a wider meaning associating the words with our circumstances. Mother struggled most of her life to cope with what was expected of her. She was kind, caring, and talented. Still, there were times when it just became too much for her. She often found herself in a setting where she just couldn’t carry on. It was too hard.

It’s taken me many years to make peace with my childhood. It still can be touch and go, depending on the day. Intellectually, I realize my mother was doing the best she could. Emotionally, I sometimes resent that, regardless of my age, I always had to be the grown up and she got a pass.

We might find ourselves in a situation where we have to row with whatever is given to us. It’s either that or give up and float aimlessly, waiting for the current to take us along in whatever direction it happens to be going. The ride will go smoother if we decide where we want to go and paddle toward the shore.

2 responses to “Survival”

  1. I like that quote Grace. What a gift to find some quotes she had written down! Those would be more meaningful to me than any object. We are each given a set of oars, but you’re right, it’s a choice whether or not we use them. Maybe we spend far too much time questioning our ability to row, but the more we try, the better we become. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the quotes were wonderful surprise.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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