Did you ever see the movie, ‘Bruce Almighty’? It’s the one where Bruce Nolan played by Jim Carrey, is a television field reporter at his wits end. Life just doesn’t seem fair.
At one point, in the movie, Bruce is driving along asking God for a sign. As he drives he passes a road side indicator panel – the kind that warn of impending road works – showing the words ‘Caution Ahead’. He doesn’t notice it.
A truck loaded with road signs (of the kind: yield, stop, slow down etc) pulls out in front of him causing him to mutter and swerve, and he’s oblivious to it. He asked for a sign, got it, and didn’t recognise it for what it was.
‘I had a dream that I was awake, and I woke up to find myself asleep.’ Stan Laurel
I’m one week into the new year, as are you, but I’m feeling a bit like Bruce Nolan. Expectant, but there’s a nagging feeling that maybe I’m ‘asleep’?
It all started a few days ago. I like good music, and do appreciate a good choreographed choir. I say that with some trepidation, because I wouldn’t win any votes on Britain’s Got Talent for my singing. So, a few days ago – oh, I do hope they invite me back – I was at a place (and that’s as precise a description as I’m going to give), where the congregation, many of whom are dear, sweet friends, just could not sing. I wept. Not because they couldn’t sing, but because it moved me. They had a joy, a love and a ‘holy innocence’ that reached down into my core and caught me up with their offering to the Source of all. A magnificent inclusion that was overwhelming. A ‘thin place’ event. And it was enough. I realised afterwards that I could have ‘switched off’ completely, and been critical, and missed something oh-so-special at that service.
Can we be so critical, that we miss being moved by the little things in life?
‘My friends are the beings through whom God loves me.’ Mark Nepo
And then, a couple of days ago, at my ever-so-humble, north Wales cottage, Tŷ Gwin, I had one of those wake-up-in-the-early-hours-of-the-morning events. It’s at times like that, that to get back to sleep, I like to go for a walk in the nearby forest – suitably dressed, ofccourse, and regardless of the time. As a Celt, a Christian and a Druid, I love nature, the wilderness, the barren places where ritual and/or meditation can take place, and where you can hear the Source of All. But, that night is was raining. Normally, that wouldn’t stop me, but I could hear the rain in torrents hitting the windows as it was caught by gusts of wind, it was even colder-than-cold outside, and if I’m honest there was a little bit of ‘stay-indoors-and-keep cosy’-ness that enveloped me, and forced me to remain within the cottage. What could I do?
So, unusually for me, I stayed put, and put the radio on for a while, instead. As I sat on the sofa in a semi-comatose state – well, drifting in an out of a day-dream state – I could hear the radio’s music in the background. Okay, I admit I am not a fan of Cyndi Lauper, but the song’s refrain continued to vie for my attention. I tried to resist, I really did. But, in the end I had to climb that metaphoric ‘staircase’ out of the day-dream state to listen more so. ‘If you’re lost you can look and you will find me, time after time; If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting, time after time’.
Could it be that the Source of All uses any means he/she wants to get our attention, and to get the message across, even to the point of using Magic Radio? (105.4 FM in the UK for those interested, and also available on DAB radio). It’s an interesting thought.
‘…but [the Source of All] will rejoice over you with singing.’ Zephaniah 3:17b, The Book
And now as I write this, I’m wondering whether I should continue or whether it just sounds plain odd, daft, as soppy as a box of frogs? But, if you’re reading this then you’ll know the choice I’ve made.
Ofcourse, in concluding this, and mentioning two examples of something that I could have missed but didn’t, it begs the question: If the Source of All communicates with us, and I do believe that is the case, then ‘What have I…..umm, what have we missed, say, even in the last few days?’
This shouldn’t make us downcast, nor neurotic, but should gently, hopefully, tease an answer to that question, and positively spur us on to be alert to what Mark Nepo calls those ‘quiet teachers’ that speak to us all, all the time.
‘Often we find it easier to think our way around things rather than to feel our way through them.’ Mark Nepo