You are probably wondering “Why A Cow in the Ocean?” Here is a story that might help explain.
John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper.
This went on each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of Lent, the neighborhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John, he was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn’t take it anymore. They decided to try to convert John to Catholicism.
They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took him to Church, and the Priest sprinkled some water over him, and said, “You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic.” The men were so relieved–now their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved.
The next year’s Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighborhood was setting down to their tuna fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. The neighborhood men could not believe their noses!
They called each other up and decided to meet over in John’s yard to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent? The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, “You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish.”
I read this story shortly after being baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I laughed so much my sides hurt because I related so much to John Smith. You see I was born and raised a polygamist or as many refer to us a Fundamentalist Mormon. (That term can actually lead to a little confusion but that’s another story for another time.) Although I joined the LDS church willingly and was very happy to do so I often felt that I was trying to pretend to be something that I wasnt. I felt so different from everyone else that often when I found myself in a situation that I was uncomfortable in I would picture a cow swimming around in the ocean making fish lips. The image made me laugh and often relieved a little tension and helped me to realize that I owe it to myself to allow for a little room to make the adjustment from the world I grew up in to my new surroundings. After all just because you tell a cow he is a fish doesn’t make him one.
The one occasion that probably made me feel the most like a cow in the ocean was dating. An excerpt from my book “Lead Thou My Feet” will help you understand why dating was such an issue for me. In the story I had just developed my first crush.
“My mother sat me down then and told me the story of “The Pool.” It went something like this: Before I was born, when I still lived in heaven with my Heavenly Parents, I met someone who I loved more than anyone else and he loved me. We promised each other and Heavenly Father that when we came to earth we would find each other and be married. It was extremely important that this promise be kept and our entire eternity hinged on finding that one special person. Since we would not remember anything once the veil of forgetfulness was drawn, it would be up to us find out from God who the person was that we had promised to marry.
When you are born, it’s almost as if Heavenly Father puts a picture of the man you are to marry at the bottom of a pool and as you go through life, if you fall in love or have little crushes, you are throwing a handful of sand into the pool. If you talk to boys and do other things that you shouldn’t, soon that pool will become so clouded that you will never see the picture on the bottom. On the other hand, if you remain pure and ready to marry whomever the Lord tells you, then when the time is right, and after much fasting and prayer, the picture will be revealed.” (My book Lead Thou My Feet is not yet available to the public. If you are interested in reading more or in getting a copy of the book please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Since we didn’t talk to boys, we didn’t date them either and so I grew up keeping clear boundaries and a definite distance from all boys. Once I joined the LDS church everything changed and instead of being encouraged to stay away from the boys, I suddenly found myself at 22 years old being encouraged from every side to date, date, date. (You can read the story of my first date ever on the date of the week page.) The idea terrified me…and entrigued me all at the same time. Perhaps that is the reason I write this blog now. This strange new world of dating, this rollercoaster with the highest highs, the lowest lows, the sweetest moments, the exciting twists and turns and the terrifying plunges into the unknown is something that has fascinated me from the beginning. Falling in love is universal, its something that happens to everyone regardless of culture, regardless of time, ever since Adam met Eve falling in love and everything that goes along with it has been written about, discussed, expressed through film, songs, books, and art. It has perhaps been the most consistent interest of men and women ever since the world began.