Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Journal: living under this world's yellow sun

The day now past has been one of challenge, blessing and a little personal pain today; not bad for a day billed as "off'. It started with breakfast and the company of a friend. One of the people who will listen to me and make, not always comfortable, comments and observations and provide part of what in combination with others is an effective spiritual direction process.

It's good to reflect and make oneself vulnerable to people - something we clergy do too little of - for it makes us human and exposes our feet of clay. The problem I find that hits me most is that unlike Superman,  living under the yellow sun of earth  doesn't seem to give me super powers at all! In fact there are times when I struggle to leap small obstacles with a single bound and am not only slower than a crawling bullet, but am wounded by words too! Yes indeed you - I'm frail, fallible and human.

Part two of today came in the shape of a service which unexpectedly arrived at my doorstep. But it was soon sorted, done, and gave me a sense of blessing too. When everyone is human then only the few - in this case the one - is truly revealed to be super. And so God was brought into the presence of others and I was blessed to be able to bless. That's what days off are for: Blessings!

So by the time the afternoon was with me we (the two made one through marriage) decided to take in a 'wrinkly film' (£3 each with a tea or coffee handed to you - a real bargain indeed). The film:Collateral Beauty - billed by some an a little over emotional, self-indulgent, offering.

But I got much from it even though it was so very obvious, over-egged and had too many words at time; yet was still effective and, for me at least, at times little painful. It's not often people will find me mention Timmy, a son who was loved much and who, attracting a litany of health issues, graced this world for just shy of ten years.

Howard the Will Smith character) is, Scrooge like, visited by love, time and death as he struggles over the loss of a child. Now it wasn't so much the film that touched me and entered into places I thought were dealt with and boarded up but the opportunity to let words and images resonate with the crystal glass memories and pains that lie hidden deep within the boarded up places.

The problem we have with loss is that we either bury the feelings of pain and grief with our loved ones or we nod at them and pass them by on the other side of the road, hoping no to have to stop and engage with them (a bit like some of the people life conspires to bless us with :-) ).

So yesterday I grieved over the loss of a son and touched the heart of God, another Father who shares the loss of a child, and was equally touched and blessed by the whole painful encounter. Tomorrow I will stand with people and in the resonance of today will bring them to a place of grief, loss, celebration and continuance of life. This yellow sun and the vulnerability it brings to my every day is indeed a blessing for it illuminates the hand which holds me and makes me safe.

Film done, it was time to write funeral services and edit sound tracks so that they fit the bill for my trip to the Crem'. It is so easy to 'do' funerals as if they were a row of identical objects on a conveyor belt. But the time taken to craft words that speak of the life, the joys, the pain, which shape and mound us is essential. The simplicity of finding words for a treasure is overtaken by the opportunity to be an apologist for a life lived in painful experience and broken relationships. This is the joy and the challenge we encounter when in the company of another person's dead.

The day ended with wedding stuff - and boy do I struggle with weddings! Unlike funerals where people need a neighbour, someone who will come alongside and help make sense of things, weddings often turn out to be a long line of service providers with the cleric and a required, yet not always required part, of the whole thing. But for this one I am involved with people I am involved with and so it's part of the family rather than part of the package. And that's a joy I will enjoy this coming Saturday.

So another 'day off' ends and I have had fun and pain and revelation and more besides.

Lord, for all the facets of the day I give You thanks and praise.
For my dead, and the dead of others - I give you thanks and commend them to Your grace, love, care and mercy. Bring Your healing into the presence of those whose loved one I will do services for this week.
For those I have been a blessing to today: I thank You.
For those who have blessed me and shown me kindness - thank You for them.
Lord, bring me sleep and refreshment - may tomorrow be filled with encounter and opportunity to make Your love and life real in the people before me.
Lord, I love You,

No comments: