Why would we choose darkness? Because we have something to hide? We all have something to hide. Light exposes every wrinkle, every blemish, every imperfection, our flawed, secret self.
Ask yourself, could I stand naked in front of a room full of people, not strangers, people I interact with? The answer for most of us is no. Then think, could I be entirely naked before someone I love and who I know loves me, just as I am warts and all?
This is the secret of embracing the light. Knowing God loves us with such perfect love He sees past our imperfections, we can yield ourselves in total, naked, honesty. Not because we feel we are perfect or beautiful, but because we trust totally in His limitless love for us. This is true humility and only in this way can we embrace the light.
A mamma swan has decided it seems to rear her babies right alongside us. When reporting for our first CVSS day of the season (taking the disabled sailing) we were astounded to find a new nest complete with six eggs right beside the jetty.
The mother seems perfectly at ease with us and all our comings and goings as we help our special sailors into the boats, even leaving her eggs for a leisurely swim in our presence. She seems to know we’ll not hurt her little ones. We are honored by her trust.
With just one word you have said so much and yet so little…. Wrapped up in those four letters is everything I wanted to hear and yet nothing at all.
You toss it out like throwing pennies to the performer on the street, knowing it’s not all I’m worth but giving you a way out in the immediate.
That one word does not suffice me. It does not tell me what oceans you swim in now. It does not tell me what mountains you have climbed or how far you have yet to go. It does not tell me of your heartache or of your joy. It tells me nothing.
Still, those four letters have told me everything. They have told me that you are sailing the oceans and not drowning. That you have survived the mountain and continue to climb. They have told me that your heartaches are your own and your joy is shared with others. They have told me everything.
But I haven’t stood by your side all these years only to be given the same fleeting smile and handshake you would give a total stranger. I haven’t been the friend that held you when you cried only to now be given the same scraps from your table that you would give to your dog.
And so the next time I stand beside you and see joy dancing in your eyes, the next time I hold your hand and feel the pain trembling therein, the next time we hug and you linger that little bit too long, the next time I ask how are you, please, I beg, allow me the honour of being a friend and give me more than just:
One of the keys to swimming is to learn to float, then, instead of using your energy to keep your head above water you can channel it into getting somewhere.
I’ve always felt it strange that after someone drowns their body floats to the surface (face down not being the optimum position for survival, but none the less it floats.) I picked up on my mum’s fear of water as a child and this realisation helped me in my determination to learn to swim – I realised we are made to float not sink.
Life is much the same. Sometimes our frantic fight to stay afloat can be the very thing hindering us. Even worse, sometimes in our panic that we are drowning we can pull under those beloved “lifeguards” who are trying to rescue us.
So how can we learn to float?
I’d suggest,recognise it’s our natural condition to float. Sometimes huge “waves” come at us and we find ourselves submerged. Try not to panic, like the cork we have a tendency to bob back up to the surface after a minute or two. It may not be pleasant but the more we struggle the worse it tends to get. I look back to my childhood in the 50s surrounded by all those post war London folks, if anyone was an example of the “cork” those people were!
The second thing is to understand that the water/life can support you. Though sometimes it can get a bit rough, it is not “the enemy!”
Having faith in something other than yourself can be a great help. It’s easy to lay back in the arms of someone you love and trust. The poem “Footsteps in the Sand” is a good illustration. Looking over the footprints of his life a man berates Christ that at the hardest times he was left alone. Christ answers softly, “You were not alone, those footprints are mine. I was carrying you.” Guess that explains my personal “floating technique”. Do you have one too?
I watched a bird upon a fragile stem;
It seemed it would surely break with him;
He did not seem to worry or to mind,
For all his swaying in the wind.
He sat erect & sang his lilting song
He felt so very sure, so very strong.
FOR HE HAD WINGS!
(“Oldie goldie” poem I came accross. Don’t know the author.)
Forged long ago, silken strands wrought hard upon earth’s iron anvil, heated within a furnace of trial and pain they yet forge a bridge between our worlds, a veiled link so thin and sheer it cannot be seen by human eye; only hands of faith take hold and dare cross the chasm below. I wrought it of My blood and sinews, I who had no blood, who knew naught of pain or travail till earthly hands seized and drove in nails. I was pierced long ere that by the hate, envy and strife, searing My spirit like the pain tore through My flesh … they still do. I left behind a trail of blood for others to follow, not in sadness but in joy. The silken cords remain, as lifelines they dangle just within reach. Love was always there from the beginning and shall be there also when time closes and all that you know here ends. Love is a part of Us, part of Our being. When We made man in Our image We made him to love, to watch over, to care for creation. Man was born to love.
Watch a child, how it seeks to love and be loved. Yet they strive against it, they fear the pain, the humbling; but did I not humble Myself to become a man? Did I not hang naked upon a cross for all to see and jeer at? Did I not pay the price of humility? Without humility there can be no love, the heart cannot be bared. The unprotected beating heart must unveil its secrets to another or there can be no love, no intimacy. There can be lust, but not love. Love lays itself open to ridicule, to hurt, to pain – as did I. Yet without love life is an empty shell, a husk. Anything worth something costs and the price of love is often pride, to trust another into those hidden secret parts.
I believe in love in spite of the hate I see in graphic media footage, I believe in light in spite of the darkness that pervades the arts and society as a whole, and yes, I believe in God.
There was a time I didn’t. I felt the existence of a God of love amidst this mess of violence and corruption was a fantasy invented by man’s need for reassurance, for a superman who would make things right. (How telling the preponderance of super heroes nowadays).
I’d tried most things, education, travel, Buddhism (and other religious teachings), the quest for love, and a great many less acceptable things in my desperation, when God pretty much hit me over the head in an intense personal encounter that changed my life and perspectives forever. I realized God didn’t need my belief in him to be real. He was there whether I believed or not, a fact not a fantasy and He was at work in my life.
I began to really “live the dream” not the “American dream” which destroys from within, but the fairy tale you might say. I never fit into churches (or society as a whole) but I devoured His Words in the Bible. I’ve always been a rebel and He used that very aspect of my personality and miracles began to tumble about my life as I took Jesus at His word “cashing in” the promises he left us with.
Some folks think Christianity is boring or confining. Nothing could be farther from the truth (though I can see some traditions without the spirit of God might make it that way).
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” it says. The closest analogy I could make is like launching yourself off a mountain top and knowing (not hoping) God will catch you and you’ll fly. I no longer worried about how I’d support myself, if it was safe, how I’d do something. I guess it was like Lois Lane the first time she flew with superman and I flew and flew and flew. I loved it! Life was total freedom and anything was possible.
Since then I’ve grown old. I look forward to death with anticipation and a little trepidation welcoming the destination but not the journey there. This one thing I know He’ll be there for me as he always has been, He never let me fall, not once., even if my strength should fail His wont.