My day usually starts with the daily Office at around 04:30 and it's something I can recommend to anyone as a good practice. I ended up there because I found that the nearer to work I had it, the more chance there was of the day encroaching into it There's nothing to get in the way of me and God where it is now which makes it a perfect time. Starting the day with God and some time to read, pray and settle myself into the oft hectic demands of the day is a no brainer - it is also something I promised to do when I was ordained, so it is a win/win innit?
So where we been today and what have we done together Lord?
Where have you as my wingman (or should it be me as your wingman?) been covering me and keeping me safe?
God covers my six so often that the inclination to take Him for granted and end up merely assuming He'll be there rather than working as a conscious pair is immense. The discipline to gauge each step and every direction taken as right or wrong - to sense the call and correction of God as I act and to fly above the clouds always - amazingly releasing and yet sadly less common than I'd wish.
I recall a Boxing Day when the snow was falling and the desire to fly was so great that it couldn't be passed up. The ground was wonderfully white and the sky disgustingly grey - proper snow sky with pockets of blue tantalisingly teasing and inviting me into an intimate encounter. An offer I couldn't refuse. actually, like so many encounters and engagements I hear about from others, it wasn't something on offer but something sought and craved! Checks were made (no I hadn't been drinking the day before and yes I was current on type) and before you could say, "How much an hour?" I was off. Cloudbase was high and soon the temptation to 'go on top' became irresistible - so I didn't resist it!
One of the most amazing things about flying has to be the feeling you get when leaving behind the clag and the grey existence that is the province of those whose feet are glued to the earth and, passing through the clouds, enter into brilliant sunshine. The floor is so white, the ceiling and walls so blue, and the sun is . . . Well it's the sun isn't it? It's a big ball of bright stuff like you've never seen it. The contrast between the place you're in and the place you've come from, it's like different worlds rather than the same place with a bit of water separating the two experiences.
How often do we take the opportunities before us to 'go up on top?" how often do we push through t the clouds which obscure and perhaps depress us so that we might experience blue skies and the presence of the Son (sic)? Today I did that and it rocks - so why don't I do it more?
A tutor once told me that a fool is condemned to repeat their folly and a wise man to learn from them. The problem is that I am so often caught up in the backlash of foolish people as they become the Clag that obscures the Son that I find myself earthbound and handicapped by frustration and the desire to remedy their lack. It's so easy to be caught up by the things others don't do that we, foolishly thinking we are 'standing in the gap' end up doing the stuff they haven't or mending the stuff they've done wrong.
Today I've experienced the Son and need to leave the folly and lack of endeavour to those who live such lives - if it isn't 'Unto death' or to classed as 'sin' then I guess I can leave them to it (or not to it as the case might be)!
"Each of us must carry our own load. Not ignoring the load of others nor their toil, but ensuring that we do not stop or deviate from our own endeavours because of others. We assist our weaker brethren but do not let them become a curse for us.'
Those words I will make mine over the coming years. It's not, "No more Mr Nice Guy," it's, "No more missed stuff because of others!"
Days off, time to study, pray and reflect. The end of doing stuff in my 'own time' (whatever that is) so that I can fit everything in. Today has been a day of leaving behind and entering in - a lesson offered and haltingly taken up. Who will this make me? What will it look like? I recall the words of my instructor as he walked away from the cockpit with the observation that I'd best go fly it myself, he couldn't take sitting next to me any more: "There are bold pilots and old pilots. The old grow older and the bold don't. Enjoy it!"
You know what? I think I will.
And today, so much to thank You for: another Nativity, Christingle where the kids clamoured to answer the questions and tell me about the world, a God who made it, the blood of Jesus, seasons and compass points, the good things we have, and a Mum who makes you tidy your room and put away your socks! Carols sung around a Christmas tree, meetings with a Head, breaking bread with my Wardens and their partners, conversations with recently bereaved and chance encounters (on my part, not His) and so much more besides. There were the stresses and problems caused by foolishness, arrogance and ignorance (thankfully none of that mind) and evidence that a fool truly repeats his folly - BUT THE SUN SHONE!