I have been teaching about marker posts and shelters a couple of times recently. And one of the things I encourage is for people to find their own metaphors which seem helpful. This is one that I came across as we walked round this large pond on Saturday. It is a place where excess rainwater can go and hopefully avoid flooding a local area. For me it triggered thoughts of what balance might stop me being overwhelmed at times. I can’t always regulate what I do and when I do it. But I can try to put into my life a little balance…
Golf clubs, baseballs and cricket bats, and tennis rackets all have sweet spots. Human lives do, too. The sweet spot on a tennis racket is that place near the center of the strings where the vibrations transmitted through the impact of the ball cancel themselves out, making players nearly unaware that the impact has occurred. Hitting the sweet spot, therefore, feels natural and almost effortless. It allows the players to invest their energies into playing the game, not merely hitting the ball. As effortless as it feels, however, the sweet spot is difficult to locate and hit regularly. A player must practice hard, paying careful attention to how each swing feels under changing conditions, most especially the pressure of competition. Just as the sweet spot of a racket is found by adjusting to continuous impacts made by a ball moving in the opposite direction, so your internal sweet spot tends to be revealed through direct challenge. You keep adjusting your responses until they begin coming from a place where you feel most fully yourself – most fully free, yet wholeheartedly engaged and alive (Elnes 2015:9).
Yesterday I spent some time reflecting with someone on a sweet spot area for me – I have an action plan to put into place and hope when we meet again that I can report back that I found the sweet spot!
Elnes, E. (2015) Gifts of the Dark Wood. Nashville: Abingdon.
Our local communities and our world are wonderful places but they are also full of dangers.
“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all” Soren Kierkegaard The sickness unto death
I am still reflecting on how and where this hazard might be for me. One place I am very aware of is just being too busy without thinking too much of what I am doing. And if I am thinking about it, it is more concerned about how it looks to others rather than God. The underlying value within this quote is that the human life is valued. I do not think it is contradicting Jesus’ encouragement to lose our lives to gain them (Mark 8.34-5). Jesus’ challenge and clarification comes with the ending “for me and the gospel”.
Drifting is rarely helpful, useful or purposeful. Being distracted and sidetracked can be such a waste of our unique gift, the life we have each been given. Losing it purposefully for the sake of Jesus and the coming of the kingdom seems a helpful way to look at it to me.
I appreciated this statement written on the wall of the changing rooms where I was trying on a pile of clothes. I am trying to transition out of too big clothes and also to stop myself keeping a safety net wardrobe for if/when I put weight back on. My hope is that it will not but statistics and my history are not in my favour. However, I believe I am beautiful now but was too before I lost 4.5 stones as for me beauty isn’t about appearance bit so much more…
I was doing some work with a group the other week and one of the exercises was to draw and colour yourself as a fish and then locate yourself within the picture. It is an interesting opportunity to reflect on self awareness and group dynamics and I was impressed with the courage and honesty of those I worked with. I made a conscious decision to do such an exercise and talked through my thinking processes explaining how and why I was doing things.
Last weekend was the American football final, the Superbowl. The eventual winners, the New England Patriots, came from way behind very late in the game to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. This is a quote from today’s Observer newspaper .
“All these dramatic dramatic comebacks are duly celebrated and remembered precisely because of what they say about resilience and the ability to recover from disappointment. Yes, no one dies and there are are plenty more impressive stories in cancer wards across the country. But somehow sport- indeed multimillionaire athletes- can condense and capture something of the essence of what it is to be human”.
I am glad the writer had some perspective, but as someone who does work with dying children, their families, their care and medical staff and plays competitive golf, inspiration to be the best human being I can be, is found in those who do not ever give up until it is all over and then do so graciously. But those in our hospitals and hospices do it better and best.
This caught my eye as we left a meeting last week. I have been thinking since how I might describe myself. My O level (GCSE for anyone a bit younger than me!) Greek tells me that I can say messenger rather than angel – I am not sure I see myself as terribly angelic, certainly in the colloquial sense the term is often used. However, I am aware that I inhabit a number of roles where I might be perceived to be a messenger or bring a message. It is hard to think of something more important than this currently, I might want to add reconciliation or I might be thinking of trying to help people find a sense of inner peace but if we all attempted to, at least sometimes, be an angel of peace then the world may be a bit different one day.