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Saturday, 22 April 2017

What Ifs.

I try to make a point not to think about what ifs. What if it had gone like this, what if this hadn't happened, what if I had done that. Because it doesn't help. That's not what happened, and you can't change that. The only thing that you can change is your future - through what you do, right now. This current and exact moment that you live in. I believe that quite strongly, and I try to follow that in what I do and think.

But it's hard. Particularly because I have a rather vivid and overactive imagination, that loves to fantasise and escape. That wishes this and wonders about that. Considers how life might have changed if I'd talked to that girl, and been a bit brave. Or thinks about what my life might look like if I had just settled for whoever at some point. Because I'll be able to make it work out, right? I think they're all beautiful, so anyone's fine, right?

Of course, strangely enough, that doesn't particularly help. I believe I've talked before about how the more time you spend on something, the more energy you give it, the bigger it gets. That's true for emotions; for ideas; for habits, good and bad.

I think I put rather too much energy in the "what if" of being in a romantic relationship, particularly because God's said that's not where I'm supposed to be at right now. That's not where he wants me focussing, spending my energy. Unfortunately, I've become rather set in those ways. It's hard to get out of a habit that you've had for....ten years. Wow. *sighs* Okay, that hit me a bit.

Ten years ago, by the way, is when I usually say I fell in love for the first time. It's rather a hard thing to measure, funnily enough, but me being me, I've certainly given it a darn good try. There are times before that when things happened - but that's usually when I say I first fell in love. People that have known me for that long, don't try to spend too long on the maths. It won't get you that far. I knew a lot of people back then, even when I was only fourteen. (Fourteen and in year ten. Not too bad.)

The point I mentioned before about time and energy is actually something that also comes from brain science. When you think about something, or do something, that fires up a particular neuron pathway in your brain. The more you think about it, or do it, the easier it is for that pathway to get fired up. Think if it like a road. The more a road is used - more traffic is on it - the bigger they need to make the road. One lane turns into two lanes, three, more, you get a highway eventually. You get the picture. I feel like the song Life Is A Highway is rather apt here. Only the classics!

A lot of my highways, though, are around emotion, and particularly romance. For rather a long time, it's consumed most of my time and energy. I'll either be thinking about who I'm interested in at the moment, or about who I could be (I try to stop my brain from going there too much, or it easily gets rather calculating), or about what I could do when I'm in a relationship (already so many ideas....), up to even planning my wedding (I've had ideas about location, groomsmen, and music for several years).

And, in many senses, that's not particularly surprising. I am a Four, after all. (Click here if you have no idea what I'm talking about.) But it's not particularly healthy, to put it rather mildly. Of course, I'm probably not writing this at the best time. (Though that may depend on how you define 'best' in this instance.) I tend to be at my best in the morning, most alert and functioning and positive, and gradually get moodier, more melancholic and emotional as it goes towards the evening. So maybe I should've written this in the morning. But I don't really do this sort of writing in the morning. That's much more - cerebral. I mean, I'm still thinking a lot now. Brain still goes at a million miles an hour. Just more - muddy, I guess. Less clear. Anyway.

I don't really have an easy answer, strangely enough. You don't get a lot of those. But, I think - slowly - I may actually be getting somewhere. And I think that prayer is the key. Just finished Max Lucado's Before Amen. Certainly recommend, about the power and importance of prayer. So trying to be more intentional about praying a few times each day, thanking God for things regularly, asking God for help more. Having it as my natural reaction to anything happening that I take it to God. I think that's a good habit to make.

Anyway. I think I've written more than enough already. There's probably some interesting things in there for you, whoever you may happen to be, dear reader. And if you do think so, keep an eye out for next time. There's always a next time. Well, always but one.

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Last Night.

I got home quite late last night, and realised that this would've been about the time that Jesus was on trial with the Sanhedrin. It got me thinking about the events of that evening. Below are three little snippets, of a similar space in time, but each from a different point of view.
NB: these are completely fictionalised, and not meant to be an accurate representation of what happened, nor will they necessarily perfectly align with what is written in the gospels. Give me a little creative license. They're meant to provoke thought and to see this in a different light.


It wasn't supposed to be like this.

I knew that I needed to do something. Jesus was - out of control. Driving people out of the temple? Saying that it would be destroyed? Even coming back to Jerusalem - when the people here had tried to stone him before. Something had to be done.
So I talked to the priests, and they said they could help me. I didn't want them to hurt him....I didn't want them to hurt him....
I told them not to send soldiers with me. I said it was pointless, we never had any weapons. But they insisted. I should have left then. But instead, I led them to him, a wolf in amongst the sheep....
And a kiss. Betraying him - with a kiss. I can't forget how he looked at me. Like he knew. He knew. But how? How?
It all went so wrong from there. They took him and beat him, imprisoned him - this isn't what I wanted. This isn't what I meant to happen! But then, what did I expect?
I threw their dirty money back at them. It felt like a dead weight in my hands. Each footstep felt like a struggle. I wept openly. What had I done?
I couldn't bear it. I couldn't look at him. He....he saw right through me. I had to escape. To escape this anguish and misery. To give myself what I deserved for this. I knew where they would take him now. To his death. It will be mine as well.


It wasn't supposed to be like this.

We had just marched victoriously into Jerusalem, triumphant, secret no more, people finally seeing Jesus for who he was. They finally got it. We had been hiding and running from town to town for so long - but now, we were here, in Jerusalem, announcing our arrival! We felt like kings. We did feel a little scared at first, because we knew that the people hadn't received Jesus so well there before - but we didn't need to be. They were laying down their cloaks, waving palm branches, shouting praises to Jesus.
And then we celebrated the Passover with him - and he said it was going to be our last meal together. We didn't understand - where was he going? And then he said that one of us would betray him - and that we would all leave him. I told him emphatically, that I never would. That I would stand by him until the end. How could I have known what was going to happen?
Later that evening, everything changed. Men came in with swords and clubs, led by that dog Judas, and arrested Jesus. We ran. All of us. We feared for our lives. But I tried to follow them at a distance, to see what would happen to Jesus. They took him into the house of the high priest, and a few others started a fire outside to keep themselves warm. It seemed it would be a long night. It was quite cold, and so I drew a little closer to the fire. One of the serving girls spotted me, and declared, "You were with that man Jesus!" They had just arrested him. I still feared for my life. The response was instinctual. "I don't know him." I tried to hide myself. A little while later, someone else accused me, but I was again too scared. I denied it. A third time, just as Jesus was coming out, another spoke to me, saying, "Certainly, you were with him. You are from Galilee." I exclaimed in panic, "I don't know what you are talking about!" The rooster crowed. Jesus turned and looked at me. Or rather, looked through me. How could he have known?
I ran, and I wept. I had abandoned my closest friend. How could I look on his face? How could I stand his gaze?


It happened just as my Father said.

I drew my brothers together for a final meal. They still did not understand, but they could sense the importance of the occasion. I shared the bread and wine with them for the last time. I sent Judas, whom I loved, to do what he must. Then I told them what I had known since I first saw them - that they would leave me, at the end. Peter, of course, headstrong as he is, said that he would always stand with me, even if everyone left. I looked at him sadly, for I knew the truth. "You will deny me three times, Peter."
We went to Gethsemane. I have always loved the place, and I needed some time to be with my Father. I knew what I must do - but I needed his strength, that night. They were many long hours. I was glad of the company of the three beside me, even if they could barely keep their eyes open. I prayed fervently, for my flesh was weak. I knew what lay before me, and part of me was scared. But my Father gave me strength.
Then he came, with the crowd. So much noise. I think they expected a fight, with all the weapons they brought. Everyone else ran when I went with them.
They took me to the high priest, who questioned me, and insulted me. I stayed silent. Everything was already decided. I knew that, even as he was speaking, Peter was just outside, denying me; Judas, running away. My heart ached for them.
They led me back outside, and I saw Peter for the last time. It broke him. Forgive him, Father. He does not yet understand. But soon, he will.

It is only Friday. And the sun has not yet risen.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Incomprehensible Beauty.

I came across this quote recently, and I absolutely love it.

"I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful - an endless prospect of magic and wonder." - Ansel Adams
And it got me thinking a little. Because I completely agree with this line, which is why I love it so much. It just expresses what I already think in such a lovely way. Everything that I see, I see it in a lens of beauty and wonder. Rather than every cloud having a silver lining, it's seeing every cloud as silver, with a grey lining. Or something like it.

But most people don't see the world that way. Particularly these days - there is so much that people can be afraid of, get frightened by. So much that people see sorrow and loss and heartbreak in. And that's true - but they get so swept up by this that they don't see the beauty, and the wonder, and the incredible things that are still here. They don't see the magic that is present in every moment.

And I guess that's something that I want to help people see. I want to help people to see the beauty and wonder in this world, even while everything seems to be crashing down. In the eternal words of Samwise Gamgee;

"But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something....That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
I'mma just leave this here, to show off a little of the world's beauty. There are still a few stars shining yet.