Saturday, January 15, 2011


In 50 B.C. Caesar, as Governor of Gaul, was ordered back to Rome. His was the losing political party. He approached the Rubicon River, the border of his region. If he crossed with his standing army, he would be declared a traitor by Pompey, the leader of the Senate. If he crossed alone he had little power to defend himself from Pompey’s probable accusations of malfeasance.

In 1951 Herman Wouk published his novel, The Caine Mutiny. Captain Queeg is a main character. Compulsive, eccentric, increasingly neurotic, he blames others for his failures. After grounding the Caine he is given a tow. Rather than attending to the progression of the ship, he allows himself to be distracted. Lacking direction, his helmsman fails to straighten out of a turn. The Caine severs the tow rope and drowns Queeg in humiliation.

“Crossing the Rubicon” describes a decision that will take us past the point of no return.  When my husband requested emeritus status from active ministry, when we bought Adagio Adult Family Home and agreed to care for seniors with dementia, we crossed the Rubicon.

Fortunately we are not faced daily with decisions of ”Rubiconesque” proportions. But after making such a decision, there are ramifications that require many more choices--to say nothing of explaining your decision to the troops. If the decision were easy it would be called “jumping Plaster Creek.”

Hence, one of my favorite quotes. “Sometimes when faced with decision, you don’t know if you’re Caesar about to cross the Rubicon or Captain Queeg cutting your own tow line.”

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