Lost in transcendence…

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[Disclaimer: This will probably not make sense. If it does, I owe you a reward for your understanding! If you can be bothered to read beyond this, then you are a good and faithful soul…]

I don’t know about you, but I always have a habit of charging my phone at night and placing it under my pillow…you know, just so that I don’t miss a tweet from Anthony Spears or Uberfacts…or as it turned out yesterday, so I can reply to tweets at 4am to a friend across the pond – whatever, I sleep with my phone under my pillow and this morning when I woke up I smiled to see a friend’s status on fb which said: “Can I have a few days off from life to just digest the last couple of months?” – YESSSSS, that’s it, spot on, sum up my feelings in one…but I would like to be able to digest the last 5 months instead. So glad it’s not just me then.

It’s interesting, I’ve always had, since childhood, a very good sense of direction – take me somewhere once and I can usually remember the way to that place at a much later stage in the future without any aid… not just that, but places I haven’t been to before often end up feeling familiar and can be easily navigated when I simply follow my instincts…many of my friends can probably swear to having heard me say at some point whilst out somewhere: “now, I’m not sure – but I think it’s this way!” only for us to arrive at our destination a few minutes later!

Any person whose career starts at a young age can probably relate to having this innate sense of direction…perhaps not in terms of geographical direction i.e “it’s definately left”, but in terms of personal development and future objectives “I want to have a PhD by thirty”. So – that clear sense of direction and drive being with me all this time, I might be forgiven for finding myself swamped in feelings of loss and confusion 150 miles from home in a new post and new context with absolutely no sense of direction at all.

I often wonder how the young prophets and apsotles dealt with their ‘premature’ callings to fill shoes usually ten times bigger than them [probably not by blogging, or playing Bach, or sitting in the garden stroking the cat and having a fag]…not that I’m comparing myself to the courageous and wise ‘prophets of old’ at all except in years! In all honesty though, I often feel reduced to a ‘Jeremiah-type-inadequacy’ and as happens in the narrative of Jeremiah’s call, God’s response seems to be ‘stop whinging, get on with it, It’ll be alright on the night and you’ll be OK because I’ll be with you’…well, thank you God, but it’s not helping this time.

Jeremiah was lost for words, Timothy was lost for lack of support and I am lost in a whirlwind of constant change, transition and developments – in short, I’d say I was lost in transcendence. Lost in that which is above and beyond me – that which cannot be translated nor understood…somewhere between heaven and earth or Cardiff and London even in a mist of question marks…!

I suppose the initial months in any new job bring their own challenges, and some of those are good and healthy, some of those challenges resolve themselves in time…it’s the living with intellectual loneliness and artistic unfulfilment that is the hardest thing…twinned perhaps with the feeling that people’s overwhelming concern for you often leads you to doubt your own abilities.

Somehow, the transcendent reaches into the chaotic mental web I exist in and offers it hospitality – sense – relief. Obviously, for me, the transcendent named is God – and only within Godself can all of our ‘mess’ be held…

When I think back over the amount of adjustments I have had to make, adjustments that have had to be made successfully or basically not at all, then I definately do sit back and think you know what…yeah ‘Can I have a few days off from life to just digest the last couple of months?’ – how am I here doing what I’m doing, in this place, in this way…how am I driving a car (it broke down a week and a half ago so scrap that mentally) and looking after a house, how am I looking after two churches (yes, I know, God is the one *really* doing it but you know what I mean), how am I preaching every week, how am I coping with one of my biggest supporters no longer alive anymore, and two of the most amazing teachers (God knows SVCC and Jeremy Davis made life a little easier to make sense of!) and friends hundreds of miles away?! I could go on…but I won’t…you get the idea!

For now, whatever else, I remain lost…a stranger and a pilgrim on a journey taken not on my feet, but in my heart. A journey walked with God in the overgrown and thorn-ridden garden of the soul – where no-one else but God can walk…a journey of seeking – seeking in God that which can be found nowhere else…to know that Christ is all in all through this chaotic, confusing and costly love affair with Love.

JR-B

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