Not too long ago, my Little Lady said something really funny about my rough edges. I was explaining to her friend that the little lady makes me a better man by rounding off my rough edges, to which my little lady added, “Yes. I’m the waterfall to his rocks. And it’s taking SO. Freaking. Longggg!!!” She was just teasing me in good fun, although admittedly telling the absolute truth, but it got me to thinking about the comparison.
Ever heard someone say that some problems in life are ‘rock problems’? I’ll summarize the concept for you; they’re saying that when you face a problem in life that can’t be changed, you have to accept it and work around it or you’ll spend your entire life beating your head against it. Or, at least, that’s how I interpret the saying.
To some extent, I think too many people see a rock where none exists, and use it as an excuse to remain indifferent to something that they could probably change if they were willing to put real effort into it. At the same time, there are truly things in life that cannot be changed. If you continue to run marathons after you lose a leg? You’ve worked around a rock problem. The problem still exists- your leg is still gone. You could have spent the rest of your life bitter about the fact that you lost your leg, but instead you continued to be who you are by finding a way to do what you love in spite of the rock. Prosthetics aren’t available to all rock problems, but they are a great example of the choices some people make when faced with seemingly insurmountable issues.
Point being, regardless of which path you take, the rock remains. The rock’s surroundings are all that change.
Rocks do change under extreme circumstances, though. Wind and water erode them. Occasionally, rocks change quickly during catastrophic events such as landslides or earthquakes. In either case, it takes a lot to change a rock. Either several lifetimes’ worth of slow erosion, or a catastrophe’s worth of energy. Neither of which any mortal has at his or her disposal.
Waterfalls change rocks. Over many many human lifetimes, they’ll make a rock smooth. The rock will still be there, though. The rock affects the waterfall too, just like the prosthesis changes the runner. In fact, I’d submit that the rocks make the waterfall that much more beautiful. The waterfall has to flow and swirl and dance around the rocks… it makes the waterfall that much more elegant. Do you suppose that waterfalls ever get frustrated with the rocks, and the amount of time it takes to affect them? I am certain that they do. Yet, I’d much rather be the waterfall than the rock. The rock is a stagnant and stubborn reminder of how resistant change tends to be. The waterfall is vibrant and alive and making the best of things.
The waterfall has its ups and downs while the rock remains seemingly unchanged. During drought, the rocks soak up the sun and bask in their break from slow transition. During floods, the waterfalls roar and shine and make up for lost time withering away those rocks.
The thing about rocks and waterfalls is that nature pairs them together just like it does all things it means to balance. The waterfall flows because it has to, and the rocks sit because that’s what they’re meant to do in the grand scheme of things. They’re examples that Mother Nature offers us, I suppose.
I love waterfall people. Their souls have been shaped by an unchangeable problem, and they have chosen to embrace it and make it a thing of beauty, rather than beating their hearts up against a rock for an entire lifetime. The rocks really shouldn’t try to take any pride in that- the waterfall would have been beautiful with or without the rocks.
In life, we get to choose. People tell me that the rocks don’t have a choice, and that they’re born in a way that they cannot change in this lifetime. I disagree. One thing I know about all people is that they all have a choice. Every day. Not to mention, now and then Karma gets impatient and tosses an earthquake out there if the rocks have created too much tension.
I believe that inside every human rock, there is the potential to be a waterfall, and inside every human waterfall there is the potential to be a rock. The only difference between them is what each person chose to be.
No matter which way they choose, there is always the potential for a waterfall, because sadly some people will always choose to be rock problems. To all of those out there who face a rock problem, please know that you can still be the waterfall that flows elegantly in the face of that rock. I prefer to see them as waterfall problems, because the elegance of your waterfall is the gift you get in return for facing something that cannot be changed.
This post originally appeared on Scott’s site, ThreeFiveZero.