Friday, December 15, 2006

Life's minors

Mayhap my posted quote of the other day has morbid tones to it, and mayhap I'm a melancholy romantic ... but I think that the minors of which the writer of that poem speaks are not at all faithless minors. It is the acknowledging that the circumstances that we cannot understand come from God's hand, and the responding with patience and trust, that is the essential thing. Here's the chord that quote strikes with me (these are all quotes from the book God of my Father, by Larry Crabb):
Telling someone who wants protection from tragedy that tragedy will come but it's okay because God will be in it does not always promote rest. Yet my father claims that we know enough of God's character to rest ... Resting in the middle of tragedy because God is in it better fits what I know of the Bible and life than covering my fear of tomorrow by trusting God to supply the blessings I want. 
Perhaps the promises God has made really are superior to the ones we wish he had made. Maybe things are working together for good in ways that only faith in a better land can grasp. 
... I believe that tragedy is an undercurrent in everyone's life, with occasional erruptions that come with neither warning nor expectation. Life is more tragic than orderly. I must learn to quiet my soul, to hush, to learn the lesson of my grandfather's words ["Hush, God is in it"], particularly when bad things happen or when I fear they might ... I must quite myself and listen beneath the noise of my dread to the voice of someone whose goodness has not and will not waiver. God is in it. His plan is good. I must believe it. And that must be the basis of joy, a mature joy that has lost the innocence of Eden but gained the security of hope ...
... the sheer mystery of unequally distributed blessing can be enraging ... mystery points up to the sovereign wisdom of God who writes each of our stories so differently, but always with the intention of preparing us for our part in his story. The mystery of his plan, when seen as a reflection of inscrutable goodness, leaves us not only rejoicing with others more blessed, and confused by choices he never explains, but also awed by the love behind the plan that one day will have us all singing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The strain unfolds ...

Experience, like a pale musician, holds
A dulcimer of patience in his hand;
Whence harmonies we cannot understand,
Of God's will in His worlds, the strain unfolds
In sad, perplexed minors.

Elizabeth Barrett-Browning

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Spirit of Christmas 3

They launched a Christmas decorating competition at work, with the silly theme that it had to be based on the achievements of your team in the past year. But I got a little inspired - in jest initially but then decided that it could actually work - and so this afternoon a colleague and I constructed this, with suggestions from another colleague and the odd passer-by. It was a good “team-building exercise” and all that as we got together and consulted and negotiated over strategies and colour arrangements ... and built something!

Now we just want to win! :) ... (but if we win we do get to choose which charity to donate money to, which seems to have something to do with the modern "Christmas spirit").

Friday, December 08, 2006

Every Lot

Have lost interest in my own blog of late, which doesn't bode well for anyone else maintaining any interest in it. At the moment I am house-sitting in lovely Balmain, and breathing in the air of materialism - that and the car fumes as I jog the bay run, which is purported to be nice, and it is, but a little too close to the traffic for my liking. But the view is lovely and I'm enjoying playing house in this nice little terrace and at times imagining that life had taken a different path.

That being the case it is probably a good thing that I am also re-reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. Each chapter begins with a poem, and Chapter 17 with this one:
There are briars besetting every path,
Which call for patient care;
There is a cross in every lot,
And an earnest need for prayer.
A.L. Waring
Margaret the clergyman's daughter is visiting the sick and poor Bessy and after Margaret's encouragement to hope Bessy remonstrates "It's all well enough for yo' to say so, who have lived in pleasant green places all your life long, and never known want or care, or wickedness either, for that matter."

But Margaret, who carries her own hidden sorrows, responds with "Take care how you judge, Bessy ... [followed by the story of her life] ... Have I not care? Do I not know anxiety, though I go about well-dressed, and have food enough? Oh, Bessy, God is just, and our lots are well portioned out by Him, although none but He knows the bitterness of our souls."

Bessy asks for pardon and after Margaret's departure she says to herself "Who'd ha' though that face - as bright and as strong as the angel I dream of - could have known the sorrow she speaks on? I wonder how she'll sin. All on us must sin."

It's a nice little preventative against any kind of sideways judgment or covetousness. We never do know all about the briars and crosses in the lots of others do we, which I have found even in the lives of the Balmain residents.

And the sadder and truer reality is that we will all sin ...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Spirit of Christmas 2 (?)

Well, if anyone thought my desk decorations were a little peculiar and open to misinterpretation, this is what the girl over the wall has done. (Yes, it is a Steve Irwin figurine with pink, feathered wings attached).
I am just not going to say a word ...

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Spirit of Christmas

This morning the girls in the team next door at work went to town with Christmas decorations and their work area now looks all very festive. I inherited some left overs, which I thought was a nice, tastefully understated silver piece of something resembling tinsel, so I set to work curling it nicely around the partitions and surrounding my space with it. Ell first told me it looked like I had used barbed wire - quite rude I thought :) - then one of guys walked past and stopped and asked "is it to keep you in or keep other people out?". Oh I laughed. It would seem that my effort to join in the festivities looks rather like I have razor-wired my desk.

So much for the Spirit of Christmas and spreading goodwill and cheer and all that ...