A Fable for Our Community

Aug 15 2014

I wrote recently about sinking. Sinking FAST. And slowly, sometimes, too. And being generally out of mental oxygen and how it feels to emotionally drown, which isn’t, it turns out, just a privilege reserved for those of us who are clinically depressed. And then we spent this week mired in depression talk. It makes me feel tired and sad and a little triggery, which isn’t an adjective but should be. Because pffttt. You know? Just pfffttttt. 

Then I remembered a fable my friend, Becky, read to our group of local churches about the hard work of Love, because we’ve been getting the whole Love thing really right and horribly wrong, back and forth and sometimes all at once, as though we’re just utterly human.

Loving God.

Loving each other.

The work of community. 

And I know you and I may have different thoughts about God. No problem. I LOVE this about us. It’s one of my favorite things. We’re a diverse community around here, and all are welcome. As I’ve said before, this space will never be about conversion, because that’s neither my interest, nor my job.

But we will always be about the work of Love here. And the work of being our truest, deepest, most wild and wonderful selves.. And the work of finding our Village. And the work of being community to each other. Community. Come unity.

Which is why I give us this fable today, because it is, for this moment, the very best image of community I can imagine.

The Lobster and the Crab
from Fables by Arnold Lobel

On a stormy day, the Crab went strolling along the beach. He was surprised to see the Lobster preparing to set sail in his boat.

“Lobster,” said the Crab, “it is foolhardy to venture out on a day like this.”

“Perhaps so,” said the Lobster, “but I love a squall at sea!”

“I will come with you,” said the Crab. “I will not let you face such danger alone.”

The Lobster and the Crab began their voyage. Soon they found themselves far from shore. Their boat was tossed and buffeted by the turbulent waters.

“Crab!” shouted the Lobster above the roar of the wind. “For me, the splashing of the salt spray is thrilling! The crashing of every wave takes my breath away!”


“Lobster, I think we are sinking!” cried the Crab.

“Yes, of course, we are sinking,” said the Lobster. “This old boat is full of holes. Have courage, my friend. Remember, we are both creatures of the sea.”

The little boat capsized and sank.

“Horrors!” cried the Crab.

“Down we go!” shouted the Lobster.

The Crab was shaken and upset. The Lobster took him for a relaxing walk along the ocean floor.

“How brave we are,” said the Lobster. “What a wonderful adventure we have had!”

The Crab began to feel somewhat better. Although he usually enjoyed a quieter existence, he had to admit that the day had been pleasantly out of the ordinary.


I love this, because I think it sums up all of friendship and all of Love.

The crab, who is afraid, saying, “I will come with you. I will not let you face such danger alone.”

And then the sinking, which, it turns out, is so much a part of this life.

“Lobster, I think we are sinking!” cried the Crab.

“Yes, of course, we are sinking,” said the Lobster. “This old boat is full of holes. Have courage, my friend. Remember, we are both creatures of the sea.”

Listen. Life is just full of peril, isn’t it? Leaky boats full of holes in turbulent waters. And we – all of us – feel at one point or another like we’re going to drown. Sinking fast. On our way to the bottom of the sea, which is where our imperfection lives, and our inadequacies are on display, and we fear we may be found out. We forget, of course, that facing our humanity and sinking into who we really are is always part of finding our way home. And that we don’t go it alone. Not into the storm. Not down with the ship. We go there together. And we find ourselves home.

Have courage today, friends. We may be sinking, but we are creatures of the sea.

Down we go!