I took this photo this morning, 14th June. Children from our little village school here in Thakeham playing softball or rounders or something, running freely, chasing a ball, and cheering when runs are scored. Beautiful. I love the innocence, the protection, the safe enclosed world of the village green and the kind teachers.
And the five-bar gate to the field is shut.
Across the UK there is turmoil. A government in crisis. European leaders laughing at our politics. And today a London tower-block on fire with people being burnt to death.
And me with an overactive sense of responsibility. Am I to blame in some way?
For the last week I’ve experienced a sense of deep disappointment, a sense of not wanting to live here in the UK, or be identified with this people with their anger, taking their revenge, laughing at others’ discomfort, promising things they know they can never deliver, plotting to destabilise our government and nation … for what? Today the outpouring of care and love towards complete strangers in need. We saw it in the recent terrorist attacks too.
Amid, and maybe beyond, the deep sense of grief, I’ve discovered a place of peace and I want to share it with you. It comes with a new word:
I’ve stepped back, switched off the news, and taken time to meditate and pray and look for an alternative, a more useful meaning, a different perspective. And found peace. How far would I have to soar above the earth to no longer be caught up in the mêlée? Two miles? 100 miles? 1000? The earth looks very different from 10,000 miles out in space (above).
(Mêlée is an appropriate word describing “a large noisy uncontrolled crowd, in which people are moving in different directions and sometimes fighting with each other.”)
And from how far back or forward in time – looking back from three weeks? Three months? Three, or three hundred years?
None of us know the future. We can declare boldly what ‘IS GOING TO HAPPEN’ but it is rarely, if ever, as described. Speculation isn’t truth, and to imply we know what is going to happen in the future is to deceive ourselves and others. There’s a lot of it about.
Time and distance are two powerful dimensions that enable us to ‘remean’ what we see around us.
I’m NOT accountable for what others do with my vote, either in last year’s Referendum or this year’s general Election. I AM accountable for where I put my ‘X’ on the ballot paper. I’m not accountable for the mistakes, the lies, the fear, the selfishness of others. My own are more than sufficient to inspire guilt and regret. But guilt isn’t the final outcome for me (and it is never just one person’s fault.) All that is gone. I’m forgiven.
Yes, I’m a ‘believer’. I worship God, the Ultimate Intelligence, the Creator – and for most of my life I’ve been committed to the spiritual journey of discovering what he is like. (For my version of that you can go HERE.) Something I’ve been excited to discover is his readiness to forgive. Completely. For ever. I’m a completely-and-forever-forgiven human being, thank God. Living in that global absolution is, quite frankly, like being born again: I’m clean, innocent, treasured, priceless, and I have the peace and pleasure of a new fresh piece of paper to write my life on each day.
Valued and valuable beyond measure. Like those little children in the picture above. And the people responsible for that towerblock fire. And the millions living on that crescent Earth.
All of us.