Thursday, June 21, 2012

Peace Unto Zion

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pause for Thought
The Richard Allinson Show
BBC Radio 2 
Sunday, June 17th, 2012

It’s a religious platitude that we bring nothing into this world and carry nothing with us out of it at the end.  As anyone knows, however, who has moved house we seem to do our level best to compensate for this state of affairs by accumulating an incredible weight of stuff during the middle bits between our arrival and our departure.

Where does it come from?

There are presents given to us by people who obviously don’t know us very well:  Books we have no interest in or executive toys which we are too busy to play with. 

Then there are the outdated things.  Our interests were different, once upon a time, and we collect things associated with a particular hobby and pursuit.  And then we moved on and lost interest but all the trinkets, the tools are still there in a box marked “Miscellaneous – Very”.  Outdated too are the  ill fitting clothes which we once looked good in before the outward development of the belly out front and the backside out back.   We’d be embarrassed to try and shoehorn our way into these old clothes. 

In both cases these things no longer match our shape or our interests.   They are no longer part of who we have become.

Moving house – like many forms of spiritual discipline – is a stripping back of the illusion of who we – or other people – thought we were.  We simply get rid of what is not us.  In packing up a box to take down to the charity shop we get closer to accepting and even rejoicing in the truth of who we have genuinely become.

Pause for Thought
The Anneke Rice Show
BBC Radio 2
Saturday June 16th, 2012

At our final assembly at one of the local primary schools I addressed the subject of “moving on”.  I don’t always have a lot in common with small children but this time and at this assembly I felt I had a foot to stand on.   You see, my family and I are moving, ourselves, in the next few weeks to central France where I’ll be taking a new church and we’ll be starting a new life. 

The school children, for their part, will be moving up a grade or, in the case of the Primary Sevens, will be heading off to High School in a neighbouring town.  The smaller children will all see themselves reorganized into new classes.  Friendships will be reorganized too.  Children will come back from their summer holidays and will start the year by breaking old alliances and making new ones.

As for the Primary Sevens – they will go from being the oldest, the tallest and the most admired of the students to being the smallest and the least experienced.  As I outlined some of the changes which would take place for them in the coming year a number of faces were truly solemn.  A few can hardly wait for the changes to happen.  Many, however, find themselves caught between the promise of an enticing future and the loss which they will incur by seeing the old way of life – known and comfortable – ending or at least at risk.

I might have told them that at 54 years of age it doesn’t get any easier to move.   The same questions hold sway: 

Will I have friends? 
Will the new people like me?
Will the new work prove to be difficult?

And the same resources will need to be called upon – an openness of spirit, a willingness to learn from mistakes and a degree of trust in the people around us.
Audio available HERE.  PFT begins at 0:19.20 on the audio bar