It’s Tuesday morning; I am in my office here at St Aidans. A candle burns, its flame gently flickers as a welcoming breeze flows through the open windows. This lighted candle for me is a symbolic reminder of the Christ light that shines in all. Children’s voices carry across our lawn from the childcare centre, and the constant flow of traffic on Onewa Road is making its present felt in the background. Then, as if on cue, a bird sings its song of praise, and I continue to sit here waiting for some words to arrive for this month’s Informer article.
Maybe they have already arrived and I have not seen or heard them speak in their own particular language. I am sure you are aware that I am allowing my imagination free reign, for who knows what will arrive, first within my soul, then upon the screen of my laptop.
Last Sunday evening Fleur and I went to see that delightful movie The Lady in the Van. In one of the final scenes the actor playing the writer Alan Bennett says and I paraphrase ‘I don’t write to tell a story, I write to make sense of what is happening inside of me.’ This is oh so true.
Perhaps this is what is happening with me today. I am writing to make sense of what is happening inside of me. Sometimes I have an idea, were a particular article is going. This is not one of those occasions. I honestly don’t know where this one will take me and where I shall arrive, when it is time to type the final full stop.
I readily admit, I do have some uncertainty around were this article is heading. Maybe I am sitting in a mist that has rolled in from the sea. Let me explain. Last Sunday in my reflection I shared experiences of my Wilderness Retreat in Central Otago above the Lindis Pass. One morning a mist rolled in. It was an eerie feeling looking down upon the clouds instead of looking up. I reflected upon this, how in our lives we experience mist moments. We may think all is going so well in our lives. We have our plans and dreams, and then suddenly life changes almost instantly. We lose our bearings, feel uncertain where the pathway is or even if there is a path to follow. We become almost paralysed with fear, we doubt, anxiety and uncertainty arrive at the doorway of our heart. We ask, will the mist ever lift, so we may feel the warmth of the sun again?
There are times, when not just we individuals experience mist moments, but also whole communities. Here at St Aidans we are entering our mist moment, namely our building has now undergone a Seismic Risk Analysis by the Engineers. A report of this will be going to Church Councillors and a Congregational Meeting will follow on Sunday 20th March. This will be an opportunity to ask questions, to seek clarification of the report and become aware of each other’s thoughts and feelings.
I readily admit that being in these mist moments is never very pleasant. There is always a natural human tendency to remove the uncertainty as quickly as possible, so we may once more see the way ahead and move on. However, this mist moment regarding our building’s future will not lift very quickly; it will hang around for a little while.
Living in these mist moments requires learning to live with life’s ambiguities, uncertainties and the mystery of not seeing a clear way ahead instantly. In our mist moment we need to continue our conversations, allowing imaginations to soar and to know what we have control over and what we don’t, what we can change and what we can’t. I find these words of the Serenity Prayer always helpful in my mist moments:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Well, I have arrived near the end of my article. It is now Wednesday afternoon. The children are still playing, the traffic is still flowing, another bird is singing its song and indeed life does goes on. When I commenced this article yesterday, I did not know where I would arrive. Maybe, that is how it will be in our conversations on the future of our building; for who knows what will appear out of the mist.
Let the conversations continue…
Meanwhile peace and courage for the journey.