Friday, April 03, 2015

Easter Saturday Reflections "I've Got Nothing"

Easter Saturday!!
I always thought it was hard to grasp this day at Easter Camp [not so much visually or with stories, songs etc as lots of stripped back nothing and black is easy to do and there are plenty of lament, struggle and pain expressions in creative writing] until I saw and then experienced genuine grief and loss and the stuff we all do in our lives!! It wasn't until I grappled with uncertainty and NOT being basically in control of what goes on for me... 
   From mid winter part time University when your failing, to the suffering and struggle of friends and the loss of your favourite all time activity. In this last year and into the coming one my health and my vocation will be a focus. Sometimes, often, faith is hard. Even more, it's easier grasp something of the nothingness when seeing and living in a world of struggle. This is a world of 'without' and a world of 'at the expense of' where apathy shields us from the worst excesses of our uninvolved lives. I think about this on the morning after we've heard of [147] deaths at a University in Kenya at the hands of so called 'muslim religious extremists,' shared in a tone that is as if that makes it understandable... or unsurprising. Our ability to be cruel and violent towards each other is staggering at times... I also spend a lot of time working with, getting to know, walking alongside and even just observing young people who are in pain... often unspoken suffering and questions. 
   Today it reminds me a of someone I bumped into at Greenbelt Festival in 2008. Light rain fell at the all together all age eucharist on the Sunday and I chose the latter part of that to escape and 'cave in' to the temptation of a bowl of wedges with hot cheese sauce. They had been taunting me for three days!!
   I saw an attractive young lady at a table and a free table. I didn't think I'd be able to carry off the cold intro so stepped towards the empty one, just as a couple did the same, who looked to be older than me and wrapped up in sensible rain clothes and charming hats. I took my opportunity and thought a random rejection was worth the risk. 
   "Mind if I sit here, would you like some wedges?" led to a conversation about anger at a scarcely believed in God when a mysterious muscular illness led to abandoned university studies and a wheelchair. She was just beginning to get back to normal life beyond the illness and her sister dragged her to Greenbelt when she could have been in Reading!! She couldn't bring herself to join in the activity I had just enjoyed but felt was dragging on a bit. I listened. I was only interested in empathising and offering encouragement. We sat with the struggle and talked a lot about a God you could shout and swear at... if God existed at all!!
   We spoke about her sister who was so keen she would be 'up the front' of things and in the thick of the crowd... I later saw a photo of someone a 'dead ringer' for my friend, complete with mosh pit experience, butterfly temporary face painting or tattoo, clearly loving the music at that moment... it had to be the sister!! We crossed paths fleetingly the next morning at 'The Tiny Tea Tent,' I waved, she half smiled and I wondered...

God hear us...
God hear our prayer

"Every Breaking Wave" U2
Every breaking wave on the shore
Tells the next one "there'll be one more"
And every gambler knows that to lose
Is what you're really there for

Summer I was fearless
Now I speak into an answer phone
Like every fallen leaf on the breeze
Winter wouldn't leave it alone, alone

If you go...
If you go your way and I go mine
Are we so...
Are we so helpless against the tide?
Baby, every dog on the street
Knows that we're in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing every breaking wave?

Every sailor knows that the sea
Is a friend made enemy
Every shipwrecked soul knows what it is
To live without intimacy

I thought I heard the captain's voice
But it's hard to listen while you preach
Like every broken wave on the shore
This is as far as I could reach


The sea knows where are the rocks
And drowning is no sin
You know where my heart is
The same place that yours has been
We know that we fear to win
And so we end before we begin
Before we begin


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