beating the air.

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A swan lifts from the water

Wings bat feverishly at the air

The body, heavy, resists

Weighing it down,

Creating drag.

Yet it fights

Believing it is destined to fly once more.

It is not glorious and graceful, as is its descent onto the water.

Dignity laid aside

Snow white plumes sullied in spray

It battles opposing currents to gain lift.

So is life.

If you wish to soar

You must first battle, undignified, unwieldly

Caring nought for the observer.

Those bound to the land do not understand

Lacking faith for the battle they look on

Surprised when finally you glide upward

Wings aching but heart swelling

Caught at last in the updraft.

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deeply disturbing

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One of my daughters recently posted this picture while visiting the US. I was in total shock. Halloween has stealthily crept upon the scene here in the UK (No it is not a British tradition quite the opposite!) but I had no idea of the scale it had been perpetrated in the USA. Don’t get me wrong I’m a great advocate of dress up parties even working for a while as a face painter, but this I found disturbing.

I questionioned astonished, “why would any mentally sound person want to put on such a macarbe display?” It was beyond my conprehension. The usual defence of halloween is “It’s just for fun!” I find that even more disturbing that such things can be thought of as “fun”. So what is the real reason for the fascination people have for evil? Why do people choose to watch horror movies etc? I couldn’t understand it at all.

Then a still, small voice whispered in my ear. “Are you really so innocent of such things?” I thought back to the time before I came to know Jesus, recalled a kind of morbid curiosty I had in my teens to read weird or even macarbe comic books etc. In every case there was no second reading only repulsion, but never the less a fasination was there. Can I say now I am cleansed from such things? Searching my heart I find still the seeds. When reading a news report of some major tragedy, earthquake, shooting etc. while appaulled and full of compassion for the victims, there is a certain part that tallies and compares the score, is this the biggest, badest yet?

It seems an inborn part of man this morbid curiousity, a facination for evil, a part of original sin perhaps, build into our DNA? No, I cannot throw stones at the family that made this display and thought it fun, for the seed lies in my own heart in some deep dark corner resisting still the light of Christ. Yet it disturbs me that at this time of year it is given leeway to walk abroad so blatently. Perhaps it is more apparent to a stranger who lacks familiarity.

 

Did God get it wrong?

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When I was young I envied my mum and sister’s movie star legs. Why did I get my dad’s short muscular ones I queried? Why couldn’t I have been beautiful instead of OK, brilliant instead of smart, talented but not the artist I dreamed to be, and most of all why wasn’t I one of those social types at ease in every situation, bubbling with small talk and confidence?

I got a clue on my first medical examination.

“You’ve got great legs!” the doctor told me. “Never going to have trouble with those legs.”

“But…” I mumbled, uncomfortable with the compliment.

Later it became clear as my mum’s legs soon grew subject to varicose veins, while at sixty six, in spite of multiple pregnancies and excessive use, I can still wear shorts without embarrassment  . Around the same time my friend, who happened to have the 36 double D bust I’d coveted, shared how she could never find a dress that fitted, found running painful and, most of all, wished guys would look at her face instead of lower down. Being more observant I slowly realised being “drop dead beautiful” had it’s down side. People too often judged by the exterior resulting in the beauty becoming vain and shallow or frustrated because she wanted to be loved for her inner self. If I’d not been dyslexic to offset my smartness I’d not have made a good teacher, have changed so many little hearts to believe in themselves. Being OK but not beautiful, smart but not genius, talented but never quite perfect, kept me humble but not despairing.

I now picture God with his weights and scales, his tweezers even, getting everything just exactly right and balanced for the role he created me to play. There were no mistakes. Much as I lament my inadequacies I see they are all part of my balance. Even the social awkwardness I still suffer means I draw closer to him in a way I never would have done had I been little miss popular. The only way I can conquer my social awkwardness is to focus on the needs of others to overcome my shyness. This has poured my life into a mould of happiness and fulfilment.  Those focused on others are rarely troubled by depression and tend to enjoy a depth of friendship the bubbling socialite may never know.

Though I was in rebellion, I see now with hindsight God didn’t get it wrong. Nor does he expect from me what I am unable to give. I am as he made me and in that is content and peace.

The truth is always simple.

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I seem confused by so many issues nowadays, political, social, economic, etc. yet I know the truth, when one finds it, is always simple. It cannot be found in reason, debate or search, (though these are helpful). It just quietly comes with an infinate certainty when you least expect it, and there it is, in all its profoundity and childlike simplicity. It is that very simplicity resounding in your heart that you recognise as truth.

One man’s evil outshone by the goodness of many.

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Again terror pours down on the innocent, this time in different guise. Yet again the out come is the same. One evil perpetrator, but many, so many, stories of the good, the heroic. Let us never loose this perspective. The evil are few, hiding out with their bombs, guns, knives and megaphones, but the forces of good are everywhere, hidden away under a camouflage of “everydayness”. It is only at times such as this they become visible.