The last fruit of holy obedience is the simplicity of the trusting child, the simplicity of the children of God. It is the simplicity which lies beyond complexity. It is the naiveté which is the yonder side of sophistication. It is the beginning of spiritual maturity, which comes after the awkward age of religious busyness for the Kingdom of God—yet how many are caught, and arrested in development, within this adolescent development of the soul’s growth! The mark of this simplified life is radiant joy. . . .Knowing sorrow to the depths it does not agonize and fret and strain, but in serene, unhurried calm it walks in time with the joy and assurance of Eternity. Knowing fully the complexity of men’s problems it cuts through to the Love of God and ever cleaves to Him. . . It binds all obedient souls together in the fellowship of humility and simple adoration of Him who is all in all.
This amazing simplification comes when we “center down,” when life is lived with singleness of eye, from a holy Center where the breath and stillness of Eternity are heavy upon us and we are wholly yielded to Him. Some of you know this holy, recreating Center of eternal peace and joy and live in it day and night. Some of you may see it over the margin and wistfully long to slip into that amazing Center where the soul is at home with God. Be very faithful to that wistful longing. It is the Eternal Goodness calling you to return Home, to feed upon green pastures and walk beside still waters and live in the peace of the Shepherd’s presence. It is the life beyond fevered strain. We are called beyond strain, to peace and power and joy and love and thorough abandonment of self. We are called to put our hands trustingly in His hand and walk the holy way, in no anxiety assuredly resting in Him.
-Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941)
I am a little bit shocked that it was January 2015 when I last wrote anything. In some ways I have no space to write any more. But then perhaps this is what is necessary – to carve that tiny bit of space, to find mental space again? The no space thing is probably a lie. And yet, the last year has been full full full and sleep deprived. I’m waiting (still) for that to improve. Claire is nearing four, Céleste nearing two. Surely the sleep thing gets better. I know it gets better. I can’t believe I didn’t throw an epic party to beat all parties when Claire improved, I can’t even remember when that happened? It was worth celebrating, I’m waiting Céleste.
I turned 30 this year. I threw a party. I don’t like parties very much but I did like this one. It was at night, there was fairlights and a fire-pit and my music and no kids, it had a coffee cart and donuts (oh my the donuts from ShortStop are stunning) and it had good people. I like being 30. I actually kind of feel like things are settled and paced (despite the daily madness that I can’t seem to escape). It’s fun seeing what life looks like with two kids even if the balance is an almighty juggle between being a decent parent/human and running my own business and finding space for myself. I suck at the last one.
I do think that I am perhaps on the cusp of working this balance thing out despite the fact I’m not sure we ever actually do, and it’s surprising me writing this down, as I am brain dumping from being sick in bed (which is pretty much the only time I stop). As always there are things in my life that could be cracking along MUCH better but there ARE things that I am doing well. I feel like I write this same thing over and over in my head. Nearly there, nearly there. Keep on, keeping on, such is this phase of life.
Life I want to live you but I want to observe you at the same time… from my bed with a cup of coffee.
Walking there, the air is heavy with humidity. A girl with a bob and lanky limbs rides her bike after her friend. The great cloud looms, there is expectancy in the weight of the air. They sit about, beers in stubbies, thongs thrust eagerly forward on complacent feet. Striped awnings flap and there someone tugs on a guy rope for security. Flap, flap. She sits on the edge of the balcony leaning on her knees, phone pressed to her ear watching as three walk past, two prams – trying to put the babies to sleep. A little girl takes off her shoes and complains about her hat, she goes to sit on her tricycle, the handle is around the wrong way. Seagulls line the roof, ruffled by the breeze that is lifting the edges of tents; they are perfecting symmetry. The ocean noise is messed about momentarily by someones radio then it is still. This is an ageless Australia, rain is coming.
Buying a house is stressful.
You have to make a lot of phone calls and engage with actual people about things you aren’t an expert on.
My introverted self wants to magically turn inwards and present itself as a snail.
I occasionally post here. And so on this occasion – this rather auspicious occasion, I am posting.
Ten years ago I wrote the first post of this blog – On Random.
What a ridiculously full and wildly normal and at the same time crazy ten years. Thank you for those who have read and commented and I pray that some of my sharings/learnings/failures may have helped in some small way along the way.
This blog was only ever meant to be a head dump. And it still is. I sometimes have used it like a journal/a letter/a writing exercise sometimes it has been inundated with memes and lists and cooking experiments and photos but mostly it has been for me a quiet companion along the way (sometimes a narcissistic indulgence) – a way for me to record milestones and dig out memories both from my brain in the moment and later in looking back. It is a reference point for me, a consolation at times and and encouragement to see where things once were and where they are now.
This place has been a little empty the last few years as life has exploded into happening. I am not using this occasion to call this place quits. It can linger. I can drift in and out as I please and I don’t even mind much if anyone reads it.
To catch you up (for those who do still read): this week we bought a house (yes there’s madness for you – as this all happened within the last month) and I was thinking back to before I got together with Geoff (and got married not too long after) and something God was speaking to me about – having never been one for even envisaging getting married young (and then having kids youngish) etc. – why did some of this stuff (in the scheme of life) happen so fast? And in His graciousness he let me know is that he didn’t want me being ‘preoccupied’ with certain things more than I had to, that he has other things for me to do. Life will continue to get on with itself so I can get on to what he has for me. This is a big call and I baulk at thinking what on earth are the implications of this are for my daily living. So much of life has just come along at a terrifyingly merry (not always merry) old pace, ticking boxes. It is a bit ridiculous and I feel a bit like God has indulged me at times (perhaps he likes us or something) but It certainly hasn’t seemed terribly fast when we’re in the midst of getting up at 3am to feed babies , or always good and has seemed much more round about with all our – ‘moving yet agains’. I firmly believe that God does use us at our present time and wherever we are but mostly I guess I am very ready for that head space to open up once more and turn my life a bit more outward again to see what is next (or maybe actually what is right there in front of me already).
When I was younger (younger than this blog is old) I loved the Psalm about the ‘flowers of the field’:
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
and there is somewhat parallel image in Matthew 6…
25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Perhaps the next ten years will look a little different. Or maybe completely the same. Whatever the case, God is doing things right now, I just hope I am a little more aware of what’s going on and the fuzziness of the last few years of sleep deprivation and logistics of moving multiple times and trying to work out our place in the world can subside into something that breathes of it’s own accord and gives us life.
Our place here after all is always temporary.