Sunday, May 30, 2010

K & M

We celebrated this lovely couple this past weekend. M has been a member of our family for years, our closest bachelor friend, adopted brother and surrogate uncle to our three children. We have spent many years praying with him for a wife, and excitedly, he met K, fell in love with K and asked her to marry him! Needless to say she said yes, hence the wedding!

I love quoting this excerpt at weddings from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, it's such a powerful allegory.

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Humble Hymns

I am so in the mood for hymns...not sure what has led me to this place as I never attended a very conservative hymn singing church - perhaps it was all those hymn singing practices at Arundel?! Nevertheless, whatever the reason, I am finding such solitude and solace in the words and tunes of the ancients. It's really amazing to me how many hymns have been reworked with a modern feel (does that tell you how out of touch I am with the modern world of music?!). Sighing in my spirit!

And did you know that the most famous hymn of all time, "Amazing Grace", was writen by a former slave trader? Just blows my mind how lives can be so truly transformed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Super Sunday Stroll

The weather on Sunday was glorious i decided early on in the day to take my family on a hike...or at least a walk (I've come to realization hiking with my kids will have to wait a few years until their legs get a bit bigger!).

So off we went, and promptly froze -the sun went behind this foggy cloud, so we sat down on the path, downed some hot chocolate, ate our biscuits - all of 200 metres into our 'walk'.

Thankfully this diversion meant that time passed, the sun came out, and we went on to ahve a wonderful walk to the river and waterfalls.

I learnt something important - it actually pays to ahve the picnic at the beginning of the walk, because then they don't keep asking when they'll eat or when we'll stop. once their tums were full, they were so happy to just enjoy. It must be the first time Aragorn has ever said, "this is such a fun hike hey Mom?"!

(King Arthur's photo face!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Death... and the Far Country

All it takes is the untimely death of someone you know to make you realize that actually, you're not as invincible as you thought, nor your lives as much in control as you would like. Not one of us knows how long or short we have left...quite sobering if you start to dwell on that....and the fact that we so quickly and so easily fall back into the pattern of taking each other for granted.

Funeral Blues
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Know what else struck me about these last few days – is how the system of the world (my personal bent and soap box, so much more to come!) has made me fear death. Questions about life insurance, funeral cover etc. Modern day Christians have lost the ability to look forward to death - I think because largely we have become so comfortable in this life, and a relationship – a true, living one with God is actually foreign to us (if we're honest). All the old hymns, the old notions of looking forward to our passing into the next world, the notion we are just passing through, that we are transient people....all of that has been lost. We spend our lives trying to make this life better, to make this life work.

Last year someone we know passed away, and her death was a celebration - it was the oddest experience. The was such a deep rooted assurance that her time had come, that her life had been lived to his glory that people at her funeral just celebrated her. Certainly rocked my world.

I want to live outside the realms of this world's philosophies...and live my life according to a different drumbeat.

The Far Country
(one of my favourite songs)

Father Abraham
Do you remember when
You were called to a land
And didn’t know the way

‘Cause we are wandering
In a foreign land
We are children of the
Promise of the faith

And I long to find it
Can you feel it, too?
That the sun that’s shining
Is a shadow of the truth

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

In the dark of the night
I can feel the shadows all around me
Cold shadows in the corners of my heart

But the heart of the fight
Is not in the flesh but in the spirit
And the spirit’s got me shaking in the dark

And I long to go there
I can feel the truth
I can hear the promise
Of the angels of the moon

This is a far country, a far country
Not my home

I can see in the strip malls and the phone calls
The flaming swords of Eden
In the fast cash and the news flash
And the horn blast of war
In the sin-fraught cities of the dying and the dead
Like steel-wrought graveyards where the wicked never rest
To the high and lonely mountain in the groaning wilderness
We ache for what is lost
As we wait for the holy God
Of Father Abraham

I was made to go there
Out of this far country
To my home, to my home

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Musings On Mt. Sinai

I realize, every now and then, how similar I am to those good old Israelites wandering around in the desert, perpetually coming back to Mt. Sinai. Ever noticed how often you come face to face with the same issues in life? In the last few weeks I have been noticing God show me this is my life, and in the lies around me. It seems that we seldom, if ever, move into the promised land. What is it that keeps us so trapped? And how do we disentangle ourselves from what holds us back to leap into what we truly believe?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Beginning of it all....

this is it! Tonight marks the advent of my first ever blog entry! Goodness, to think that I am embarking on this great technological journey into the realms of cyberspace! I realize that for many of you out there this is simply old hat, something you do everyday and have been doing for years, but for little old me, at the tip of Southern Africa, this is a first! I am feeling inspired to begin blogging – and I'm not really sure what my goal is in doing this. I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, and if you stick by for long you'll hear me telling you all about myself...but sharing that with people who may be complete strangers...? Hmm, this is something that might take some getting used to. And if I keep it just for that just doesn't seem quite right. I think this is something I could easily become addicted to, and yet I am feeling this strange inward tugging – my heart strings are being pulled and this is something that wants to be sung. So...I'm diving in and just beginning!