Finding God, or to express it better, cultivating a relationship with God has been a bit like trying to find Nemo in a vast wilderness. Finding church fellowship and finding myself was the easy part. Finding the place where and how God wants me has been fraught with difficulty, it isn’t easy swimming against the tide.
Having been afflicted by multiple traumas has tested my faith to its limits. But my journey towards restoration in this season has needed more than what I have been able to do humanly. Knowing that I can not do this work independently of God has been revelatory and liberating. Knowing that I can partner with this amazing God has helped me to deepen my faith in a way I once thought inconceivable – how could I know what I did not know?
Increasingly, I liken it to falling in love, or the birth of a new baby. It is a love that is unconditional, unimaginable and it is available to one and all. It is like a whole new dimension. It has to be experienced since no amount of intellectual power can bring this into being. For me, a good news story hinges not so much on one event but the unraveling of this new dimension, a new way of seeing, a new way of being. “Wearing God’s glasses”.
I have no right to happiness but I do have the right to be the full expression of my self, the multi layered, gifted and messy version of me that I am co authoring and co creating with God. It is not so much about finding but surrendering and yielding to God’s will. A prayerful and meditative disposition is helping me to foster grace and humility. This requires a vow of commitment. It is an act of human and spiritual discipline. Not just on a Sunday, not just in response to enfolding events but in every breath, every thought, every dream, every decision and every action. By yielding to God in prayer and in service, God finds you, God finds me, God finds us. Abba Daddy finds us in those moments and in those lives when we each peer into heaven. Little Nemo was never truly lost but in his wandering and in his wondering, he grew into himself. A loving, spirit filled child of God.
These sentiments are, at this point of my journey, best captured in this beautiful piece of music: https://youtu.be/rwLHr9vNwcQ God sometimes speaks to me through the medium of music and other languages. The lyrics in this exquisite video are helpfully shown in Spanish and English. I hope this good news story will bring you comfort, strength and inspiration to those that pray for and seek it.
I Am With You.
Candles of harmony flicker in evening’s hue,
Libran blue, how I feel about you.
Slow burning serenity over troubled water.
Your values I can neither question nor falter.
A slow start if I recall,
Into emptiness we wouldn’t fall.
Soft Spanish eyes, so deep and brown,
In that special place, I can now be found.
Relationships had to be endured,
So when I found you, I could be assured.
On first sight of you, my chin hit the floor!
To save face, I was half-ignored,
But in your presence, I was fully absorbed.
How I hungered for your first kiss,
In my youth, you were sorely missed.
Now they fall upon me like a shower,
And buds of joy burst into flower.
That giggly heart of mine.
Loneliness, that swine.
Now having fun is fine,
Your sweet love, so divine.
15th March 1998
A loving heart searches through a meaningful gaze,
To security bound in love, not doubt.
Too many killing fields have been played,
There exist barren plains and a generation lost.
Futile backgrounds ground lovers into dust,
More than anything I want to earn your love and trust.
In love, please accept the power of your self,
Allowing love to flow freely between us.
I yearn happiness in so much haste,
But your love I seek not to waste.
Don’t leave me in mid-sentence,
Abandoned on an icy-cold seabed.
In search of peace and tranquil waters,
I feel warmth in your colourful sails.
A loving woman I so want to deserve,
In you, I see one I’d happily serve.
So don’t lose me in the rocky ravines,
Just lead me down a road to our dreams.
Fear not those families at war, negative in tone,
Doubt neither yourself, or the one who willingly seeks.
Protect your values, and hold fast to your dreams,
Amidst the gossiping swell, I don’t want you ‘alone’.
Leave skeletons buried, banished in history’s place,
For in our friendship, much love has already grown.
In all things I wish to build,
A foundation steadfast and true.
Through drudgery I wish not to descend.
To lavish you with kind love is what I desire.
By hurting you, part of me pretends,
The best for you in life is what I aspire.
In finding each other, our love will surpass,
Sentencing at a stroke those foolish endeavours.
Set your fears free and let love take its course,
Your beautiful warmth, I’ll cherish forever.
So let love fulfil its journey,
And be swept away by this magical force.
Let dreams weave their way around us,
And merrily dance the hillside.
Fostering a love that can care and nourish,
Disposing those voices that have lied.
From a den of despair,
To a nest we can replenish.
Don’t spurn me on this fruitful quest,
For its all my love I’d like to bequest.
Avoid feelings of self-doubt,
And have faith in your being.
Through this I hope you accept me wholly,
And give our love true meaning.
For mere stepping stones I warily tread,
They infect my heart with seeds of dread.
Offer me a stronger bridge to follow,
And a book that can be comfortably read.
In these chapters our love can wallow,
To the place of your dreams I’d like to be lead.
17th February 1997
Delicate and pure
Idolised her figure
Through punishing rigour.
Obsessed with her allure,
And the search for a ‘cure’.
Worshipped her visage,
A deception, a mirage.
Superficial and sweet,
The fantasy is complete.
Ever so patronising,
The pursuit agonising.
The love of an image,
To add to my baggage.
Amidst depths of pain,
Light bursts through the rain.
A china doll for sure.
Dublin 3rd June 1999
Behold, an Irish King in the ascendant,
His sense of humour is very very pleasant.
Is he a braveheart?
Or just a jumped-up tart
With talk that is largely irrelevant.
In Friday’s blue sky,
the sun sits low and bright,
revealing a journey into a warm gentle light.
From dusk to dawn,
The stars light up Oxford’s lawn.
The olde world shops provide curiosity,
For citizens and tourists
Around this great city.
The university casts a shadow over the green,
As the sun sets, this sights must be seen.
The college courtyards, one shouldn’t miss,
Steeped in history and academic bliss.
Their monuments and churches provide centre-piece,
Architectural wonders, they never seem to cease.
Yet old and new co-habit disorderly silence,
Providing one suspects, an awkward co-existence.
Satellite dishes and network TV,
Blow the Oxbridge mystique eloquently.
Down on the river, one can imagine,
Generations of games, and a past secretly hidden.
Colleges looking out to the river,
Their student degrees waiting to deliver.
To Christchurch, the grandest of them all,
Its imposing tower stands strong and tall.
Wooden fingers creep along its cold face,
A warning to students out of place?
Its old rules are testimony to its past.
Do masters still pin them to their mast?
Will the next Millennium break the mold?
Or will the old boys retain their hold.
A place of the arts, literature and history,
Full of grandeur and bohemian mystery.
Although a cynic to those who administrate,
Its charm, and those feelings
I must not placate.
14th February 1998
Football’s the game at which she excels,
How this dog wonder weaves her canine spells.
Kick the ball so she can give chase,
Even with a head-start, she still wins the race.
Although a lady she still cocks her leg,
How they must wince when she raises her peg!
Pity the lamp post and the tree in the yard,
From countless gardens has this dog been barred.
And when you are sad, she lays down her head,
To offer you comfort from all of life’s dread.
She senses just when you’re feeling down,
She makes you feel loved and wipes away your frown.
How this dog ‘knows’ is beyond anyone I know,
Since her knowledge of English is limited and low.
She has a certain presence and lots of ESP,
Yes, this dog loves us boundlessly.
Eyes; pacific blue;
I’ll sink in there soon.
Radiance and feminine grace;
Through her face.
Harmonious and sweet.
Songs from her heart.
Poise in her body;
How I have seen her.
And in her soft touch;
Written in Connemara,
Twas the summer of ’92 and a near perfect pitch in coastal Normandy. The September rain had all but subsided and it was time to get on bikes. When it wasn’t, it was time to brave the shower block and the laundry, leaving the shivery confines of the tent. It was a bright breezy kind of sunshiny day when I met our Claudette. She possessed legs that travelled, but then I guess I could move some if I had eight. I could certainly improve upon my 100 metres Personal Best. The Seventeen-legged race would prove most interesting. No doubt, it would end up in a crumpled heap somewhere short of the finishing tapes.
Claudette was no Supermodel, despite her long slender limbs. She was, however, a snappy dresser, donning a purple beret to beat off the purple rain. She was also embraced in garlic to keep away aracnophobic teen spirits one might suspect. The obligatory two-wheeler was, however, conspicuous by its absence, as were the pearly fumes from those foul cigarettes that only the French and Spanish know how to manufacture. Like me, she abhorred French tobacco.
Her chilling presence was nevertheless threatening and besides, I wanted the sink she was defiantly basking in. At this point, every sinew of muscle in my body froze compliantly, as did every hair on my body, which was by now, keenly standing to attention. From this uneasy disposition, I pondered the best form of attack. Predictably, I chose the tried and failed approach of conquering phobias. Namely, the sledge hammer to a nut technique. In the absence of a double-barrelled shotgun, there was, as luck would have it, a rather large potted plant located conveniently in close proximity.
I grabbed it hastily and raise it about three feet above the hapless Claudette, who was by this time, failing to charm me with her Gallic sex appeal. Did she flinch or wince? No. Not an inch. The stubborn French arachnid held its ground with typical Norman arrogance. It reminded me of those fearless ravens who for some inexplicable reason hug the nearside of motorways just for the sheer hell of it. I am always intrigued by such behavioural patterns in the bird kingdom. As I pondered this phenomenon, I released the giant potted plant. There followed one of the longest pauses in memory. I stood anxiously, half expecting the cursed creature to limp out on all eights. In my reluctance to play the waiting game, I sheepishly removed the plant pot. To my horreur, the infernal insect sluggishly made haste in an inordinate sideways direction. She appeared to sound out a few French expletives and retorted with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders. Still suffering from a mild state of shock, I made for the exit, deciding to postpone the laundry for another day.
Shocks were definitely the order of that particular day. On my return to the tent, I caught sight of three scrawny wild cats making off with my ham. That’s jambon in French but merely FOOD to Les Trois Chats! Too this day, these cats remain unnamed and I shall not what I called them as they scrammed from my pitch. Suffice to say, it wasn’t French, and it wasn’t polite. Vive La France!
Written May, 1996.