Wednesday, 17 September 2014

a lesson about beauty in abandonment ...

This has been one of them weekends where I find myself saying goodbye, so long, tot ziens - to many a friend, youth group member and our own daughter. I am not so good at these, some psycho analyst will probably put it down to when my mum left us when I was about three (although we have since been reconciled). Maybe it is because I said goodbye to friends and family by moving to the country where the love of my life lives, I don't know, but I do not like it. 

I wrote some words (maybe to make me feel better, but hopefully to encourage our daughter)  - 
 Your departure makes it undeniably clear that you are no longer a little girl, my little meisje, who lived in a protective bubble of family and community, as safe as possible under the watchful eyes of your mom and me. Although I briefly fantasised about it, they don’t seem to allow parents to be your college roommates. You are off on your own. Although we will undoubtedly connect regularly – texting, Facebook, Skype and maybe even that old way - the telephone – mum and I will no longer have front row seats on your journey; from this day forward, we learn about you from you. 

Reading it back, it feels almost like abandonment, a place where you just feel like people have left you, even God seemed distance and strangely quiet. It was as if the end of the worlds had happened and all you care for seemed to have gone, even though my son and my wife are still here, friends still live nearby .. a strange bag of mixed emotions. 

In the midst of all this, I came across this photo .. a totally abandoned place .. but a place of beauty, a place of growth, a place of life. 

It reminded me that wanting to hold on to what used to be, to want to stay close to people I invested in, would only be detrimental to them as they are ready to move on. I need to allow this new growth to happen and see myself grow in a new and maybe different direction too. 

There can be Beauty in Abandonment.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A lesson from Flight MH-17

Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy wrote about the ‘Six degrees of separation’ – were we are all interlinked within five links of friendship circles. Maybe it is for this reason the current events in Holland touch me so much. 194* …  just a number .. until you reach that moment that you know someone (or as many others, no someone who knows someone).

grief in the shape of many a hearse
Suddenly a plane shot to bits above a volatile part of our planet, becomes personal, suddenly John Lennons’ ideal in ‘imagine all the people .. living in peace’ seems even further away and unobtainable. How can there be peace, in a situation like this, how can there be rest for weary souls, how can there be justice when politics are involved, how can there be One Who is called Love? None of it makes sense at that moment of impact, it is all so Ecclesiastical.

The Dutch nation called for a day of National mourning, and the Bible tells me to join in, but how? They’re asking for a minute silence, ‘cause what word could bring comfort? What song could be sung? What on Gods earth can re-unite those families with loved ones?

People are shouting for justice, for sanctions, for some sort of retaliation … well .. for at least .. something. But politicians are watching the financial markets and families are soon left to grieve alone. Worldcups will still be planned and gas will still flow.

Facebook and Twitter, remind me of family gatherings and friendship circles that will never be the same again. Smiley faces in group pictures, that will never be replicated. Joyful people, now mourning their vast loss. Words of Black Eyed Peas are ringing in the none numb parts of my brain – Where is the Love ya’ll?

Well for me .. it is Love, hanging His Son on a cross.  Love, tearing Himself apart .. that to me is Love. I don’t have clever answers or insights into this mess, all I have is Father .. with arms open wide, all I have is His robes, soaking up my tears, all I have is Jesus ….

*(194 is the current number of Dutch people on board flight MH-17, a total of 293 perished)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Lessons learned from a snow storm ...

Before we knew it (even though the news reporter had warned us with some very cheap graphics and some over dramatic words) the heavens opened and deposited so much snow that traffic came to a standstill, 20 minutes journeys turned into two hour tours of survival. The stuff just kept on coming, and combined with the freezing temperatures - the roads did turn out as treacherousness as the weather man had foretold.

During the night the heavens decided to dump some more on us and the news reporters of course loved it - more dramatic stories of knife-jacked lorries blocking motorway exits, causing enormous tailbacks. Abandoned cars, causing dangerous obstructions all over town, with other cars sliding into the ones left in the road - crazy times.

The schools had to close down as staff nor kids could possibly make it to the premises in a safe manner. Kids happy, parents less so. Sledges, wellies, hats, gloves and scarves came out and the kids went their happy way into the white yonder. Than it hot me, how come adults can not adopt the attitudes of their younger fellow human beings. Why not enjoy that which can not be changed .. we were warned it was coming. Have we as adults forgotten how much we used to love snowball fights and creating creatures slightly resembling snowmen? Are we so caught up with the work ethos that we do not know to enjoy the snow days .. with our kids.

I read on one Facebook post (as almost all statuses mentioned the horror and the joys of the newly heralded ice age) how one mum was informed that she had her client list cancelled and how she was given the day of, and in her words: School just text, closed tomorrow!! My birthday will be a snowday with my family!! That's the spirit, surely we could all adopt that for the few days a year (even though snow costs the economy millions) you can not put a price on family time, family joy, family togetherness. Enjoy yours, whilst you still can.