I haven’t read Ulysses, but today’s date was made significant by Joyce’s book. It isn’t what I want to write about! It’s just what happens in my brain when morning’s floodgates are opened. It is the stream of consciousness that Ulysses apparently exemplifies, the riot of inter-linked thoughts that come pouring through in splashes of colour on the blank canvas of a new day.
I like the blank canvas feeling and I would like to keep it clean for a while! Writing can help with that – the thoughts get dealt with, put in place, labelled, as soon as they emerge: discipline is applied. I pick up my ‘pages’ book – as recommended by the Artist’s Way – to deal with the mixture and apply quality control as the jumble of information pushes for attention. I’m not a good ‘thinker’ so it helps to have it out on the page as I try to take it somewhere, reach some conclusions and set aside what can be left behind – the exciting England match in the pub in Leicester last night that Martin is re-living on his iPad in bed! – giving room to prioritise what is important for today – ie getting ready to go to France on the ferry tonight. I have a lot of work to do – packing is always an unpleasant thought – but I have all day to do it and the more niggling issues are around what I need to finish off here before leaving home for 3 whole weeks. I am terrified I will forget some of the loose ends, seemingly small and insignificant but probably more worthwhile than whether I have the right shoes in the suitcase.
Already the peaceful new page of June 16th is being invaded by doodles and blotches. Actual panic rises inside me – ‘I need a list or I will forget!’ I am not like Martin, who turns to the stimulation of the screen to kickstart his day, the external prompts that take one by the nose and lead the agenda, telling you what to think about and give your energy to, so that it is necessary to turn off again and wonder where you were before the world dumped on you. This is also a major reason for not watching too much television: I have enough internal ‘stuff’ to cope with without adding more made-up stories and characters, other people’s lives and world affairs into the meleé in my brain!
My morning stream of consciousness goes, “It’s light – what time is it? I still feel tired – but that was a good night last night in the end: fun to be in a crowd of England supporters, glad we won this one… turned out a good day, thank you Lord. Good morning and thank you for a new day. I have lots to do – just lie here a minute. Don’t feel too bad but must stop drinking so much, especially beer. What have I got to do so I can finish well – there were some painful things yesterday I need to pray about… That was a really encouraging email about France though – I wonder what to do about it… we’ll be there this time tomorrow – and this time next month is my birthday! A month more of being 54… Should be a good month, with 3 weeks holiday in it! But I never like leaving home, actually – it’s a real wrench 😦 But Martin needs to get away – it’s good to go – we’ll be glad when we get there… He had a good day yesterday, the final talk went well, bless him 🙂 I wonder how Sam is – haven’t seen him for 3 days: must be OK – Dean’s back. Wish this weather would improve – mustn’t forget to send that text – where is that verse? Will have to look it up, hope it’ll be encouraging… Got that card to write out too – and have I got time to do a blog post today? Loads of ideas to follow up going round my head – argh; I can always do them while I’m away – there’ll be LOTS of time there and I can go and post them at Winch. Better write some pages and clear my head: need to be quiet and peaceful with the Lord, I’m getting overwhelmed here and loosing that fresh new morning feeling. Here comes Martin with my tea and his iPad – time to go downstairs, need the loo…”
I expect you have similar head noise – we all have to find ways of working through it. But today, instead of picking up my pages book and heading for the room where I shut the door and pray to my Father I opened the laptop to write on here… usually a big mistake as there are so many other distractions just one click away. Discipline! Don’t panic – PEACE! It’s not good to be driven… And now another wee problem, Martin comes in asking me to find an envelope for him – groan, right now? No – but there lies the letter and another job for me to do in due course… And now my phone is letting me know there is a text – and of course I want to find out who from…
There will only be one 16th June 2012. The Scripture tells us God’s love is new every morning (Lamentations 3v23) and we are promised grace for each day, daily bread that comes as heaven’s gift, like the manna in the desert. I know I need it: just as my stomach is now beginning to tell me it’s time to eat, my heart is hungry for some substance to feed on to give strength and focus to the inner woman. Of course I’m overwhelmed by the demands of life – who isn’t really? – but the promise of Jesus is that if we do put Him first He’ll guide us through the maze and even, amazingly, give us rest for our souls: “Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” Matthew 11v12-13, The Message. As the panic sits in my stomach, surely peace is what I need more than anything else – wisdom to do ‘the next right thing’ and trust that all those ends will get tied if I can simply trust the Teacher.
So having said all this, I am going to have to go off to my quiet room to allow the Lord to sort my head out and set my priorities. I will have to stop worrying about anything and simply pray about everything (Phil 4v6), trust the Spirit will remind me what I am supposed to be doing, and that from that place I’ll be able to live today fully and well – and each day that presents itself, with whatever challenges, and as far as I can see – which is up to my birthday on 16th July! – in the same way.
Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with U2’s fabulous song about Bloomsday with it’s own Bono stream of consciousness forged into poetry and carrying a call to lives that freely demonstrate joy and hope in this crazy world, coming not from anything imposed from outside but right out of our inner beings. I mentioned this song before, in an early post called ‘a million different voices’! I guess the secret in this noisy world, the key to all the other voices, is to be careful to listen to the one inner voice above all because it’s so true: ‘every day I die again, and again I’m reborn – every day I have to find the courage to walk out into the street – with arms out, got a love you can’t defeat… I can breathe!
Thanks for reading my mind – here’s Bono’s!
16th of June, 9.05, door bell rings
Man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer
There’s a few things I need you to know
Coming from a long line of
Traveling sales people on my mother’s side
I wasn’t gonna buy just anyone’s cockatoo
So why would I invite a complete stranger into my home
These days are better than that
These days are better than that
Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn
Every day I have to find the courage
To walk out into the street
With arms out
Got a love you can’t defeat
Neither down nor out
There’s nothing you have that I need
I can breathe
16th of June, Chinese stocks are going up
And I’m coming down with some new Asian virus
Ju Ju man, Ju Ju man
Doc says you’re fine, or dying
9.09, St. John Divine on the line, my pulse is fine
But I’m running down the road like loose electricity
While the band in my head plays a striptease
The roar that lies on the other side of silence
The forest fire that is fear so deny it
Walk out into the street
Sing your heart out
The people we meet
Will not be drowned out
There’s nothing you have that I need
I can breathe
We are people borne of sound
The songs are in our eyes
Gonna wear them like a crown
Walk out, into the sunburst street
Sing your heart out, sing my heart out
I’ve found grace inside a sound
I found grace, it’s all that I found
And I can breathe
U2, Breathe, from the album No Line on the Horizon – like this one!