This was the view on my prayer walk this morning. There are no filters involved, nothing clever, and if you’re as annoyed by the little green dot as I am… chill. Ignore. Mentally delete.
It’s beautiful, is it not?
This morning I battled just a tad with homesickness. Not quite arguing with God on the scale of Job, but certainly whingeing. I know it’s nothing to do with home (Derbyshire/anywhere in England) or here (Wales) but it’s all to do with being alone for 26 rotten stinking years. And they weren’t rotten or stinking – it’s just my mood – so like that annoying green dot, ignore me.
I think the longing for home sprang from a column in the Times devoted to my old Derbyshire home, a little town called ‘Wirksworth’. It was a happy account, and I travelled back in my mind, up a winding hill to a lovely old house, and then down that hill to a mate’s house, and I missed him, and I missed the nonsense and the long evenings and the fun. I missed them all, all my pals, and I realised how long it is since I saw them and how little we have in common now, how far apart we’ve grown. Oh, boy, I miss them. And, you know, sometimes I wallow in that sort of thing. Twit.
Without even knowing I was doing it, I pulled out and dusted off the old ‘I could’ list. It goes something like this:
I could sell up and racket around the British Isles in a camper van, with my two dogs, a pile of books and my state pension. Yes, I would get shabbier and scabbier at the same rate as the van, but the dogs wouldn’t mind. BUT I lived with a chemical loo once before and I don’t recommend it. Bum.
I could sell up and move to England. BUT no one would buy my house with no view, no car parking and no garden, and even if they did I couldn’t afford English prices or rent. And there’s the dogs. Bum.
I could just about give my house away (surely if the price was rock bottom someone would want it?) and go to Bible school. BUT I can’t afford the fees, and there’s still the dogs. Bum.
OK. How about Christian Communities? There’s enough of them! BUT the dogs for one thing, and is any Christian Community desperate enough to accept me? (the answer’s no, by the way. I’ve done some research) And how long would I survive in a loving environment before I poked someone in the eye? Bu- well, you get the message.
I could buy an old smelly boat on some canal. Oh, do get real Luce- you tried this once before, remember? Rats, chemical loo, gangplanks, generators, the smell of the bilges, condensation, cows eating the mooring ropes, bad tempered farmers, nowhere to dry your clothes, leaks and hooligans, bloody rowing clubs in the summer and fishermen in the winter, and mildew on your pj’s. And the dogs would fall in and drown.
So I’m stuck. Good and rotten proper. Washed up on the west coast of Wales, in more ways than one. Bum. Just when I’m supposed to be saying a prayer of praise and thanks, I’m sitting on a damp log saying ‘Bum’ quite a lot. A litany of the word.
As you can see from the photo, I was all alone. So I sang a hymn/song that a group of youngsters sang at my house last night: ‘Holy Spirit you are welcome here.’ and it struck me – made me stop and laugh aloud – I wondered if, in that rotten old homesick mood the Holy Spirit even wanted to be welcomed by me. Surely He had better invitations to attend to?
I think He did.
Anyway, that made me smile. And then I took this photo and thanked God for a dry, warm house, two dogs I love, and a fabulous beach. And a few other things.
I heard a little while ago that we should guard our hearts. And before that, I learned that we should mind our souls. So, I sat on that log and I asked God to help me to look at my heart. I saw that it was tender and tired, a bit leaky and fluttery. And I asked God to help me to look at my soul. I saw that it was lonely. So. Heart surgery and soul restoration required. How?
I think of the heart as my love for those around me, and my soul as my love for God.
I remembered a hundred other lessons… about scripture, about rest, about priorities, about being still and remembering the nature of God. I remembered that God never changes, that when I’m dissatisfied and irrational and peeved, that’s because I’m dissatisfied, irrational and peeved. It’s no reflection on Him. And I remembered another recent lesson, that Jesus is Joy personified. If I can’t find my Joy, maybe I’ve turned away from Jesus.
You know what? I’ve got three poorly friends, and two work deadlines, and it’s the fag end of the winter and I’m a bit lonely. And all these things together had started, in just an hour or so, to steal away my consciousness of Jesus.
So, soul rest and heart’s ease are prescribed I think. I’m not going to write and rewrite and fiddle with my script for a whole 24 hours. I’m not. I’m not even going to read it again (if I do, thump me). Well, I might allow myself a peek (See, I can’t lie. Even in a flippin’ blog). I’m going to watch TV mindlessly, and eat a proper tea, and go to bed at a decent time, and I’m going to thank my God for all He has given me. Even bloody Wales.
And I’ll not swear so much.
Most of all I’m going to thank Him for the Word. I’m doing that right now, as I type (unlike President Clinton I can do two things at once). I’m thanking God for the verses that lodge in my bones, for the fascination I have for every word in that fabulous book, for the church that puts up with me, for the teaching and the fellowship. But most of all for the Word. Yesterday I did a small (tiny) study on just two words ‘Holy Spirit’, but I know that those two words alone, and all they imply, will keep me intrigued and digging for the rest of my days.
So, listen, my dumplings, shut up about camper vans, and moving house, and canal boats – can’t you see I have more important stuff to do?
I could spend the next 70 years deep in the Word and not even scratch the surface of all that wonderful grace and knowledge and truth.
‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away’