Lament

My mind swirls in a jumble of emotions. Pieces of my past, flung into my face. A sinister depression stares into the scars on my soul. Grief suffocates my will to continue living. A void inside. Yet from somewhere, a whimper, “the ste.. st… steadfast…” Stuttering. Barely audible. “love … of” The hurricane takes the mumbles and shreds them into the abyss. “the Lord” .. Pitiful. Shallow.  ..”never ceases” Desperate. “his mercies” .. … “never” … “come” … Violently assaulted by the deafening wind, awkwardly tumbling over one another … “to ” ..    …   A drowning man’s last gasp of oxygen … “an end” … ..            .. “they are new every morning” …   ..   “great is your faithfulness” .. … “great is your faithfulness” The words repeat, agonisingly forced. “great is your faithfulness” .. “great is your faithfulness” I cling to the liturgy. My lifeline. … “great is your faithfulness” And like a trickle, building to a stream, the phrases come increasingly, “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,” faster and faster, “his mercies never come to an end,” louder and louder, “they are new every morning,” with escalating resolve, “great is your faithfulness,” until they are a shout, filling the atmosphere, reverberating around me. And as the loudness of the truth echoes into the depth of my being, I realise that the hurricane has calmed into a breeze. Almost a kind breeze. And the rays of dawn are massaging my back.

I call this to mind, and so I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

A Prayer for Circumnavigating 2011

This is what Sir Francis Drake prayed before circumnavigating the globe. I dare you to pray dangerously this year.

Disturb us, Lord, when We are too pleased
with ourselves, When our dreams have come true Because we dreamed too little, When we arrived safely Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when, with the abundance of things we possess, We have lost our thirst For the waters of life; Having fallen in love with life, We have ceased to dream of eternity And, in our efforts to build a new earth, We have allowed our vision Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, To venture on wilder seas Where storms will show your mastery; Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back The horizons of our hopes; And to push back the future In strength, courage, hope and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain, Who is Jesus Christ.

(stolen from Leadership From the Heart)

A Truthful Illusion

What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms — in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.

We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors – in moral terms, the obligation to lie according to fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all…

– Nietzsche (The Viking Portable, p46)

A Doubtful Benevolence

As I have said before, I never had any large respect for good spelling. That is my feeling yet. Before the spelling book came with its arbitrary forms, men unconsciously revealed shades of their characters, and also added enlightening shades of expression to what they wrote by their spelling, and so it is possible that the spelling book has been a doubtful benevolence to us.

– Mark Twain (in his autobiography)