Ray composed a poem just for me and I can “do what I like with it”! I think that has to be a first. Best of all it’s a really good poem and even before I gained permission I was looking for an excuse to advertise it more widely 🙂 So here it is, a fellow-journeyman’s response to my last post:
Truth is a pathless land
That defies destination
Time is wasted with maps and reading the starry skies
waiting for our worlds to turn
Time is time regardless of the time piece
Truth resides not in absolutes but in the investigation of the soul
It involves a daily rebirth
We must look into the broken mirror of the past
if we are to see an emerging future
with certain knowledge that even a broken mirror doesn’t lie
The images are just smaller
Smaller and easier to take in
Glimpses of transient pain and transient glory
reflections and beacon pathways to a stronger light
Let god be your witness to the pathways of your soul
He’s a bit good that Ray – better than me, I think. We became friends through writing stuff for Stories from the Street and ever since I said, “hey you… *clever writer, tending to cynicism but still tender, raw and funny, you music-, life- and people-lover, burnt by bad experience but still trying to be a non-religious Jesus-follower* (*I didn’t actually say this bit out loud*!)… I think we should be friends!”, the unknown man from Lancashire has been following my blogging and our ups and downs with Sam son, giving support beyond the call of duty for someone he has never actually met who isn’t even a natural Redhead! I find it amazing how that kind of thing can happen through this social networking stuff and so many of you reading this are those kind of friends – met in passing once or twice or not at all, caring friendships developed through the medium of computer screens. So here’s a vote of thanks to Ray and to you all for helping and encouraging me along with your kind comments and appreciation: it does me good and that’s why I keep coming back for more!
Ray has put it so well – this need to listen to your life! It’s not a luxury but a necessity if we’re to perceive enough truth to grow and change and heal. ‘The broken mirror of the past’ that give ‘glimpses of transient pain and transient glory’ in ‘the pathways of your soul’. In fact the poet’s message to me then went on to quote an observation of St Augustine’s: ‘And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not’.
Well, I for one could never be accused of being inconsiderate of my soul – forever examining the deep, dark waters of my inner life – and in addition, to Martin’s irritation, actually paying a professional to help me work these mixed up feelings out! But it is in these private investigations I find my ‘truth’, my ‘re-creation’ and the possibility of an ’emerging future’. That’s a deliberate Dire Straits reference by the way, as I am a Dyer – but it’s a bit of a stretch as I’m hardly keeping matters private! It does at least provide a musical link to click on for those of you who find all this a bit much! 😉
Anyway, I also have some friends who are going to Jamaica in July for the 50th anniversary of Independence – Jamaica’s Jubilee – to carry a sincere apology for the legacy of the Slave Trade (and that’s another far more worthy link to click!) Their mantra is, we must “Heal the wounds of the past in order to transform the future” – because, yes, this examination has to be applied to whole nations and people groups, as well as individuals. Sin has to be confessed, wrong exposed to the light of justice and every secret, hidden thing will be revealed in the end (1 Cor 4v5). In the same way, I must look in Ray’s ‘broken mirror’ – or at least ask the Lord to do so: ‘Investigate my life and make me clean’. (Delirious? again and you can listen to that on You Tube too.) “Investigate, I can’t wait; excavate, re-create” – yep, I certainly need more than a bit of help with it…
I have a book of daily devotions by Frederich Buechner called ‘Listening to your life’: I think I mentioned this extraordinary American author before (here) and have also talked about the concept of listening to my life before because of the influence of this particular book of his. On the back cover it says:
‘Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace’ taken from ‘Now and Then’
It’s the concept of being on a journey through life and God speaking through the signposts on the way – through the stones in the road as well as the vistas. It seems to be a very old practise. I have discovered that the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola, majored on it: Ignation spirituality ‘sees God at work everywhere—in work, relationships, culture, the arts, the intellectual life, creation itself. As Ignatius put it, all the things in the world are presented to us “so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily” and so great emphasis is placed on discerning God’s presence in the everyday activities of ordinary life and seeing God as active, always at work, inviting us to an ever-deeper walk’. ‘It respects people’s lived experience and honors the vast diversity of God’s work in the world’, using a ‘daily examen’ as a spiritual discipline (quotes taken from the website)
I am attracted to this – though it probably plays to my wanting to organise life and tidy up all the loose ends around and within myself! But it does all tie in with what I call the languages of the Spirit… and perhaps you may have noticed that She often speaks to me through numbers and dates 😉
Yes, the point I am getting to via all these links: today is June 1st! Well, you’ve gotta love a new month, clean page, new season, back to the start – and as I said at the end of Time and Space it is 40 days since St George and has taken all that time to get Sam’s internet and computer working together as a team so that he is now fully set up at home and not needing to come over every day… Wow, that means it’s exactly 8 months since we got the key to 8c… and I thought 7 months was going to be the marker, but actually 8=new beginnings 😉
Se has his new computer now and is very happy with it – it actually arrived a few days early, as some babies do… But here we are and of course I want to flag up a 40 day journey since we returned from Brittany – as is my habitual/obsessional pattern as I crawl from one marked out period to the next, seeking direction and meaning in our heavy-laden life!
Lo and behold, as I ‘listen to my life’ over the last 40 days, looking back at what has happened I can actually see some clear patterns! Just like my 7 headed amaryllis above, flowering out of nothing – a completely ‘dead’ bulb for months (see picture here) – new life has started to sprout for me as the parallel disentangling from Sam has been playing out. It’s what I was hoping for when I wrote Walking with a limp, ie the signs of major season change!
In the last 40 days I have run 2 evenings of teaching and discussion, which are now leading into some mentoring relationships and gathering a prophetic company to work together across Open Heaven church; I am also collaborating with a friend in another congregation to run monthly Saturday morning sessions for inter-church worship and prayer for the town. Along with a re-focus on being part of OH2 – the family-focussed congregation of the church – it feels as if I am in a position to make some significant contribution to a lot of younger people out of my years of experience: I am delighted about this. Plus we have had some great meetings/evenings with young Loughborough friends that is strengthening our place in this community – with thanks to Phil and Stacey for your cooking and Claire, Louise, Laura and Melanie for your company over cups of tea and coffee. 2 young men have asked Martin to mentor them and I am making myself available for a few women too… it is so wonderful for us to have a multiplication of ‘children’ 🙂
In the middle of this past 6 weeks I found myself starting a new public blog. Am not sure where it’s going but I have 5 complete strangers following it and others ‘liking’ posts whenever I do write and have even been flirting with Twitter to increase readership – another level of vulnerability and maybe even influence? We’ll see where ‘longing to escape’ takes us… and it’s Ok if it is nowhere and just a learning curve. Meanwhile there is a definite plan to do an outline for a book on ‘Introduction to the Prophetic (my Lent course stuff) before my birthday. Deadlines always help: I am loving writing but needing more discipline!
In other news, I am both being asked for advice and input by friends who are leading important international initiatives and have been throwing out some recent God-ideas of my own for prayer journeys in France! What is this about? New energy and a greater sense of having a place in the tapestry being weaved across the kingdom, increased confidence, because what have I got to lose anymore? It makes me happy to feel influential – even if I am not really, but that’s not for me to say… Yet I’ve also been passing on a baton to others in this time, re all the prayer initiatives I have led for England and the UK – literally taking the ‘statue/model’ of Jesus we have used at Mercy Cry (see picture in previous post) to a friend’s house in Worcester and somehow leaving all of that behind in her symbolic and capable hands…
There has to be a letting go of the past in order to embrace the future: this is where the mourning comes in. Last Sunday at the Townwide Churches Pentecost service I felt the ghost of the past pass by again as I sat in a church we used to think of as home among a company of people in Loughborough I used to feel very much part of and called to. I am still here but my position has changed – I’m doing different things, more on the edge because of what we’ve been going through and the over-riding desire to focus on the younger generation. Times change and God moves us on: and as Coldplay sing so well, “the hardest part was letting go, not taking part…” I have experienced this so many times before! It never gets any easier, but when it’s time to re-evaluate and re-prioritise it has to be faced: listen to your life! Go with the flow.
So this proves to be a time of endings and beginnings – with both our children too, as I’ve been to see Becca’s new flat in Brighton, had her at home for a while and then said goodbye once again to a very mature young lady who is living her own life and making her own way. Having also passed through the difficult few weeks of Sam’s birthday weekend and subsequent brain scan results, but now at last having Sam in his own space and more room and time for myself… but what a month May has been and no wonder I needed the force with me!
In all of it I do give thanks for friendships that continue, for faithfulness and love that never leave us (Proverbs 3v3) – and for the purposes of God for a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29v11); for the people of God in Open Heaven and around the nation and the world – and for you, my friends, wherever you are reading this. Births, marriages, deaths – these are the markers in our lives – and this 40 days we have celebrated all of these as well. But even on the small scale there are little deaths and births to embrace as part of the whole picture that is being painted… or in my case, blogged!