In Hindsight, I Should Have Worn a Wetsuit…

The walk had started out so well, too.

On holiday and staying with friends, I was happy to join them on a late afternoon stroll down the country roads. We meandered past grazing sheep, admired the luscious scenery, played on an old swing set, and breathed deeply of the crisp winter air.

Recent flooding meant that the roads and fields were patched with large areas of swampy puddles and mini lakes. These fresh, clear pools caught the reflection of the clouds scudding across the sky, and mirrored the trees that bowed over them in graceful strength.

It was into one of these pools that I was unceremoniously dumped when I tried to help my friend climb over a fence.

She made it over the fence. I made it into that mirror world where the trees grow upside down and the colours are softened in the low light.

*sigh*

I trudged home in wet, cold jeans, feeling the southerly breeze slowly numb my legs and stiffen my gait.

Back home, I threw my wet jeans into the dryer and pulled on a pair of blue silk pajama pants – the only other pants I had brought with me. I set my damp boots in front of the heater, slipped on my old white scuff shoes, and thanked God that I was now warm and dry.

I love trains. Always have.

This is relevant information, because this is the reason I found myself, two hours later, down the road at the historic railway station, watching excitedly as the 1909 steam train was readied for her night run.

The concrete platform was crowded with photographers, and I wandered among them, taking pictures, admiring the engine, and only realising when I went back to join my friend on the far end of the platform that I was still in my pajama pants.

Oh well. It was dark. And the train was claiming all the attention anyway.

We stayed until she made her final call and let out a blast of steam, then chuffed away into the night, taking the photographers and other lucky passengers with her.

Then I headed back to the house, following my friend as he made his way to the fence we had climbed over to get to the station quickly. He expertly maneuvered his way across the creek at the fence line.

I expertly failed to do the same.

It was then, standing knee deep in a creek in my pajamas, that I realised the absurdity of it all.

Twice in one day? Surely others have this problem? What happened to the little girl who dreamed of one day being a graceful ballerina?

*sigh*

For the second time that day, I showed up at my host’s home wet and cold and shaking my head in disbelief.

I pulled my now warm jeans out of the dryer and exchanged them with my pajama pants. The shoes came off, the slippers came on, and I settled down to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Because nothing like the two accidents of today could happen if I was safely indoors, right?

No water. No fences. No fuss.

So it was with great enthusiasm that I leapt up from my comfy position on the Lazi-boy to meet a group of visitors from Vanuatu who’d come to spend the evening at my friend’s home.

They came into the lounge, smiling. I went to greet them, smiling. The dog dashed under my feet, no doubt smiling.

*sigh*

It strikes me as rather cruel that, when I am face down on the floor and clearly on her eye-level, she still refuses to swallow me up…

© Emma McGeorge, June 2014

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Crying Golden Tears

I settle under the evergreen tree, it’s dark green canopy overshadowing me like a leafy umbrella.

Sometimes a smattering of rain catches the earth by surprise.

Sometimes the sun, pale yellow in its wintry robe, peeks out from behind a drifting cloud.

The wind is cool, chasing my hair into my eyes, and I pull my jacket closer around my neck. I draw up my jean-clad legs and shuffle my pink-laced shoes as I lean back against the firm trunk, a book balancing on my knees.

I watch a young couple meander through the greenery, each holding the leash of a cheerful Scottie dog. The little black animals are dashing off in every direction, as though desperate to touch every blade of sweet-smelling grass.

A little boy trots past, close on the heels of his mother. He raises his voice, as young children do, telling her seriously and profoundly that the rain has now stopped.

I wonder if she senses his affection for her, his desire for attention returned, hidden within the childlike repetitions.

The clouds shake out another burst of soft rain, and I watch it flutter through the sunlight, transforming into golden droplets. I listen as it falls against the leaves in light applause.

And suddenly, the tears come.

The heavens arch above me, also weeping, yet resplendent in their grey cloak of rain. The skies are wide and billowing with clouds, yet unending, proclaiming the very touch of the Divine.

I whisper the words aloud, and the tears roll down my wind-swept cheeks.

I cry, overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of a God whose sunlight turns rain drops into gold.

Then suddenly, I am aware of another presence beside me.

I turn to see a little boy, leaning against the rough bark beside me, curiously looking at the open book in my hand.

“Hi.” I sniff and attempt a smile, caught off guard.

“Hi.” He says, no doubt unsure about this woman with the pink-streaked hair and tear-streaked face.

I look down at the book in my lap, then hold it up to him. “Can you read?” I ask, hoping it distracts him while I swipe at my nose and eyes. He shakes his head, so I clear my throat and read in a miraculously calm and steady voice.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

I look up at his little face, then gesture to the rainy/sunny world around us. No further explanation comes to mind.

For the briefest moment, we lean against the tree together and watch the golden rain in silence.

I look back up at him, and he grins and nods, searches my face once more, then scampers off excitedly to his father, a balding middle-aged man who is aghast to realise his son has interrupted a stranger’s solitude.

I watch the little rascal scamper away, then I shake my head, bemused and confused.

And then I laugh.

I laugh and I cry, overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of a God who makes emotional, philosophizing, pink-shoes-and-hair women.

And curious, bold, open-hearted little boys.

And tear drops that turn into gold.

No Reason

The window was smashed.

Glass slivered across the ground, it’s sharp edges cutting the yellow streetlight into broken fragments.

Nothing was stolen from the helpless vehicle. The radio was intact, the seat covers unharmed, the few odd bits in the glove box – worthless items such as a lint roller and a water bottle – remained in place.

So why break a window? There was no gain for the perpetrator. No profit from this quick and mindless “job”. Why cause a fellow human being cost and angst? Changed plans and further stretching of an already tight budget?

No reason.

The problem with no reason, is that one can’t fight it. Because, well, there’s no reason. There is no basis or cause for this event. No fact or belief applied to this action.

It came. It went. And nothing.

Reason has many forms and definitions: justification of a belief, explanation of an action, mental powers exercised in forming judgements or conclusions, good sense, sanity, logic, philosophy.

None of these, unfortunately, run rampant in society.

It is this very lack of reason which causes me to reason that reason itself is a dying art of humanity.

No longer will we apply logic to our actions. No longer will we make intelligent or even wise decisions.

Yet the loss of reasonableness does not stop there.

Now, we will no longer act upon a whim of compassion. No longer will we plot out a deed to bring goodness or graciousness into this shattered world.

We will act upon selfish impulse. Scorn old-fashioned traits such as practiced kindness or acted out good will. Throw out reason with the bathwater AND the baby.

We will shut our ears to the part of our mind that asks “Why?”

Why?

No reason.

Instead, we reason with our warped sense of self-gratification. And if there is no self-gratification, then we will blunder ahead in ignorance and destruction anyway for

No reason.

So why should you read on? Why should I write on? Why should we, as a race, carry on carrying on?

I confess that I, a staunch optimist and firm believer in the basic goodness of humankind, was losing heart. Until a man named Paul summed it up for me like this:

“…we have not the spirit of fear, but of strength and of love and of REASON.” *

It is a sound mind. It is sense and self-control. It is a basis and a cause.

And yet, it is so much more…

It is logic wrapped up in love. It is belief stemmed from faith. It is judgement married to grace.

It is reason in its purest and truest essence.

How can I know it’s true? How can I see it in the fragmented world around me? How can I live it?

By defying fear, and forgiving anyway.
By overcoming angst and choosing strength.
By daring to love, even when there seems to be

No reason.

*2 Timothy 1:7

© Emma McGeorge, 2 June 2014