Friday, December 16, 2011

this interim time...

Our lovely friends Gail+Ian run a fascinating and inspiring project they call “see:change”.
On its facebook page this morning, at this time of “waiting” in the Christian tradition, they posted these beautiful words by John O’Donohue: “In the waiting time 'we are in a time where everything seems withheld. The path we took to get us here has washed out; the way forward is still concealed from us. The old is not old enough to have died away; the new is still too young to be born'. For the interim time…”
Like a lot of people, I’ve often used this period of Advent and the turn of the year as a time for reflection – both thinking back and looking forward.
About this time last year, when I was working in a secondary school, I was suddenly asked if I could take a House Assembly. It was a case of filling in for someone at the eleventh hour; I had virtually no time to prepare anything.
I ended up telling pupils something about my blog (yes, I was that desperate!) – and explained that it was a mixture of diary of things I’d done and observations of political, social issues of the time. Only a couple of days earlier, I’d been looking up my comments on a film I’d seen at the very start of the previous year and ended up skim-reading through the blog over the subsequent twelve month period… and been really struck at the wealth of (sometimes quite surprising) things in which I’d been involved. As a result, it had made me ask myself the rhetorical question: “I wonder what new experiences/events lie in front of me for the coming year?”. So that became the theme of my assembly – looking forward with a sense of anticipation (and even genuine excitement) at what lies ahead for each of us.
I’m well aware that for some people, the coming months will involve financial/employment uncertainty or broken relationships or, in some case, utter despair… and I’m certainly not underestimating how debilitating and painful these can be.
However, I DO find it exciting knowing that, even if/when there are periods of gloom, there WILL be things that fill me with joy that, at present, I know NOTHING about.
For instance:
• A wonderful book
• A great film
• A brilliant piece of live performance (theatre/concert)
• A stunning sporting moment
• Unexpected meetings with old and new friends

• New hobbies or pastimes
• Simple pleasures
• Something yet to be created
• Experiencing new places
• Spiritual discoveries
• Reconciliation
• Taking pleasure in seeing others grow and develop
• Learning something new
For me, O’Donohue’s words “the path we took to get us here has washed out; the way forward is still concealed from us” capture this interim time perfectly.
Photo: sunrise over Glastonbury.

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