You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
It has been that sort of month since I was last here, the sort where the only possible response once the worst of it has passed is one of navel gazing self congratulation, at having survived without too much out of kilter, like a slight limp instead of a compound fracture…Between two trips offshore, a sore foot which required a pitstop at A&E and busyness multiplied exponentially, the past three weeks have sped by like a blur. My continuum? 12 hour work days, deadlines coming thick and fast, and weekends spent trying to catch up on the week’s backlog in time for a fresh load of things to chase for the new week.
As is my wont it seems, it’s the people in my life who have suffered most from the pressure; being relegated to the will-get-to-when-I-get-to category as opposed to being a priority; a point brought home forcibly when my friend Des managed to tie me down to brunch on Saturday morning, where it turns out – when I ask about her daughter – that it has been nearly four years since we last met. The daughter I was asking about now has a younger sister who is almost three years old.
The one lull so far has been weather imposed, downtime occasioned by bad weather meaning that I spent the entirety of Monday at the airport waiting to fly. Thankfully, that has allowed me finish Ian McEwan’s The Children Act – book number 13 for the year, a full two months since I read the last one.
Speaking of the weather, Abigail has caused havoc in my corner of the world, leaving power cuts and school closures in her wake. That, coupled with 4 degree C weather, is an apt reminder of winter’s coming, and the christmas silly season looming on the horizon – I have passed up on one shindig already, opting to spend my Friday evening at home rather than plying myself with gin and tonics and pointless natter.
Not a lot otherwise has happened, my year of living earnestly has been far more bluster than substance as yet. Hopefully with a semblance of normalcy, and the chance to do life at a far more respectable pace for the next few weeks, I can begin to reflect upon just how that life might look in a year’s time. Thankfully there is the framework from a year ago to direct my thoughts. I suspect the plan, when I get the time to build one, will be focused around 30 day challenges as a means to bedding down the associated habits.
Fingers crossed then – one must make hay whilst the sun shines, taking advantage of the opportunities this small lull offers.
Three chance occurrences over the space of the last month have done a lot more to unsettle me than anything else in the year so far. Not in a bad way by any chance, but in an ask-myself-hard-questions way. Of the myriad of questions bobbing around in my mind, ones that relate to authenticity, passion and faith and how these can be melded into a coherent practice have come to the fore, inspired by how the people in question are doing life in their real worlds, leaving marks in ways I can only aspire to at this stage.
The first of these was stumbling on @IntensivEpicure‘s spiel for the WA Awards Video in which she talked about a range of issues affecting perceptions of successful women. That chance click led to another and then Google from where a truly fascinating story unfolded; one that took in UNILAG, Harvard, ten years and then a return to the bedlam of Nigeria.
A few days later, a chance conversation with a friend of a friend somehow segued into a critique of life in our corner of the world and our lack of viable love interests. Somewhere in all that, a name popped up, of someone who now lived down south in a corner of England my traipsing had yet to lead me to. Egged on by curiosity, I ended up on Google again, from where I ended up on a church pod-cast site, listening spell bound to this message on singleness. Well worth a listen – it opens in a new window – if I say so myself.
And then there was Jürgen Klopp, whose arrival on Merseyside has us Liverpool fans – real, arm chair or pretend ones – buzzing again. The press conference at which he was unveiled, was a tour de force of hope, joy and anticipation. He does of course have pedigree, having delivered success on what was comparatively a shoe string budget at Dortmund, but peppering his answers with words like intensity, emotion and passion did his image no harm at all.
One of the things I have struggled most with over the past year is regaining the sense of focus that defined my early years, which is perhaps why reading and listening to people such as those I stumbled on over the past few weeks – and I would add Louie Giglio, John Piper and Francis Chan to that list – puts these questions front and centre in my mind. That some of the most important influences in my life from growing up are people who were incredibly passionate about what they did; such as G & H from children’s Sunday school, DEL and MK from work, has only served to reinforce the sense that I am missing something by simply coasting along.
No where at the moment is the lack of passion and earnestness more visible in my life at the moment than in my spiritual practice. Although ebbs and flows here have been part and parcel of my experience, in my quiet moments there is a deep dissatisfaction with where things are – and have been for far longer than I’d care to admit.
I’d like a year of tearing everything up and beginning again, of focus – of living earnestly and intentionally, one which includes more praying, more meditating, more reading and more engaging with the thorny issues bobbing about in my head. Like Francis Chan puts it:
I want to fight, I want to know that I am battling and doing something with my life. There’s a joy of a soldier walking out of a battle all bloodied up and cut up because he went and did something. This Christian life is very difficult sometimes, but even in that suffering, it’s something we desire, that we want to rescue, that we want to be part of this battle.
a situation in which the obligation to make a move in one’s turn is a serious, often decisive, disadvantage.
In real life:
a situation in which one realises that life is speeding by in a state of unstable equilibrium with all the possible moves only likely to lead to more instability, or possibly a catastrophic event…
The solution? To stop, tear everything up and begin again… Maybe..
The continuum: loss, numbness, turmoil, (self induced) heartbreak, surrender and (finally) finding a peace of sorts.. Here’s to Beginning, Again…
- Mad World – Gary Joules
- Wish – Lighthouse Family
- This Too Shall Pass – Yolanda Adams
- Shadowfeet – Brooke Fraser
- Father Me – Rick & Cathy Riso
- Read All About It – Emeli Sande
- Airplanes – B.O.B
- Love Alone Is Worth The Fight – Switchfoot
- Volcano – Rapture Ruckus & Jonathan Thulin
- Redemption Days – Josh Ojo
- Something New – Axwell Ingrosso
- Shake – MercyMe
For Mag 269
The glow of your halo,
Mother of God,
With clasped hands
And humble spirit
I bow in supplication,
Bringing a prayer
For redemption, for
Absolution from this
Weight, this burden
Of deferred hope.
The crash of thunder,
Flash of lightning,
Fire and smoke,
Echoed across seven hills
Is etched in my memory
A callus chafed raw
By this journey,
This unceasing battle
Of Self and Spirit
Of good ambushed by doubt
Mother of God
If you hear, or are near
Pray for this sinner
Now and at the hour
Brand new looks so good on you
So shake like you’ve been changed
From the album Welcome to the New which I found eminently enjoyable, and danceable…