So why blog? Because I write – to help me make sense of the world, as an outlet for storms of emotion and streams of ideas. And it feels selfish to conjure up thoughts which forever remain hidden, when they are not private for a particular reason and when people might gain something from them. So here I am.
What is this about?
First and foremost, I must mention Christ. He is the Rock, the Foundation, that underpins everything and remains solid through the storm, preventing the house from crashing down. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I follow Him and Him alone.
Then there come layers, many layers.
In light of the life I have myself found, I long to pour out life. I see brokenness and pain in the eyes of the people I meet and yearn to reach out across that divide and shine even glimmers of light into the darkness. But I struggle to know how to do that, whether “that” is comforting a sorrowing friend or starting a brief conversation with the man sitting opposite me on the Tube. Especially when I myself am still broken, a new creation but not yet fully living like one. That challenge mystifies me, and involves lots of baby steps, and lots of figuring out both who I am in Christ and what that gives me the freedom to do, and even more of allowing God to speak such truth over me such that it sinks to the heart. This is a process of a lifetime, my own transformation, the process by which character of the traveller is formed.
And so I seek life, in all its colour and all its fullness. It starts with the pointers, all that gives glimpses of the Destination.
For sure, writing can do that, can bring out vibrant patterns and vivid colours in what before seemed grey. Poetry, novels, tales. Written by people I like to term prophetic storytellers. Do you know what I mean? Things that when you read them leave you more alive than you were when you started, yearning for more and longing to reach out and reach deeper, full of awe and full of deep, deep emotion. Without even starting on art, music, nature…
Then we get to the next layer, of human interaction and relationship, our companions along the road.
I think of when my friend showed me what he found so visually stunning about an art deco building, a building which, in itself, I didn’t see any visual appeal in. Yet his enthusiasm and the glimpse into what made him tick was so, so incredibly precious. I treasure that moment. And those special moments when you realise that a friend loves you unconditionally and is speaking truth or acting in a way that you know is precious and you know is fully life-giving and true but is so, so painful because being vulnerable enough to be loved is just that painful. The world shall know that we are His disciples by how we love one another. From sublime moments to the painfully awkward to the despairingly sorrowful to the sheer fun. Dance, cheekily spontaneity, extravagant generosity, encouraging words, rebukes spoken out of love, hugs, mere silent presence when words fail…
Closer, closer, we get to the core. Yet all those things are mere pointers to the One who loves fully, who is Truth, who shows the Way to Life. That always has to be the starting point, and always has to be the Destination.
And this, knowing Life, has implications for our priorities, for how we live our own lives. Seeking pointers can only go so far. The motorway of a life lived by default is a wholly inadequate response; the road must be winding. So I try to figure out where God is calling me, and what He is saying, as the Road that leads to Life is narrow. Many beasts lie along the way. God’s voice is the only voice that matters, but is so often a still small voice in a world of manic activity and booming voices competing for attention. Seeking His voice is key.
Almost certainly, the winding road that He calls me down will lead to some very broken places. The darker the place, the more light is needed. After all, Jesus started in such places. Daunting, that is true. Yet transformation is always possible. There is always hope. Christ has won the victory. But often a map reader is needed, even (especially?) to help navigate our own hearts. So what brings transformation, and what gets in the way of that transformation is key. Ultimately, it is Truth that brings life, but what order that Truth is revealed, and when it is, and who by, and the way it is communicated make all the difference. After all, we are talking to human hearts here. The winding path requires a toolkit that will bear up under the strain.
I hope this starts to give an idea the kind of things that this is about:
The Destination. My own transformation. Pointers to Life. Seeking the Way. How to deal with beasts. Shining light into dark places. Map-reading for transformation. Building a toolkit fit for the journey.
All of these things are ingredients to tales from the winding road.