Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

this weekend, and this week, have been full.

i’ve been surrounded by people- good, great, people but nonetheless, a lot of them.

i’ve been reminded to connect with the artist in me.

i’ve been reminded to be courageous.

i’ve been reminded that who i am is enough.

it’s been good, it’s also been pretty tough.

being at the summit, and just not knowing if i’ll ever see some of these people ever again… that was really hard yesterday. even if i only see them for two days, once a year, some of those people are precious for all that. because we are a family, we’re a community. and so i don’t mind giving up things for this family, i don’t begrudge the extra time. sure, sometimes i moan and complain about it, but hard work and long hours are in my blood, and when it’s something that i believe in, and somewhere that i love, and filled with people who believe in and love the same things i do… well, that’s just the icing on the cake.

i wrote some poetry, i made some art, i felt some connections.

IMGP8952

it was good.

(i wrote this poem during one of the sessions when i should have been paying attention… but Jessie, from Miami, had given me such a powerful image that it just had to get out. so. here.)

(i couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the extra lines that keep getting put in there, so it’s a lot more spacious that i intended. well. that’s ok. the real spacing/ formatting is here)

a tree (inspired by Jessie. and Psalm 1.3, Jeremiah 17.8)

She will be like a tree planted by the river

sending her roots deep into the water.

She will be like a tree –grown from a seed, planted firmly.

She will be like a tree, strong trunk, firmly planted, weathering the storm, unafraid of drought, or heat, with roots… rooted in the deep.

rooted in the deep, deep water. wading through the shallows, cutting through the dirt, settled in the deep waters.

rooted.

She will be like a tree grown by a river, ringed by sorrows.

ringed by joys.

fed on the dirt, the dank, the underbelly of the earth.

fed, rooted, planted in the dirt, in the reality of life, of community,

rooted through the throw-away, the decomposing, the shit. reaching deep, bringing forth the newness of life.

She is a tree, planted deep in the water.

currents move, things flow, seasons change and She.

Is.

Rooted.

She is a tree planted by the river with roots planted deep in the water.

heat and drought come, but She will still produce fruit.

ringed: ringed with life. ringed with the holy & the present & the mud & the dirt & the grime & the fruit…?

the fruit                       is good.

She is a tree, a tall, sheltering, productive tree, lined and ringed with a life fully lived.

planted firmly in the mire by a river, flowing, living, changing, and her roots go deep. and her fruit is good.

you.

are a tree replanted in eden. bearing fresh fruit every month. never dropping a leaf. always

in

blossom.

 

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part two

Posted: January 30, 2009 in 364871, life
Tags: , , , ,

questions four and five. i feel that i rambled enough for one post in the last one. and these might become lengthy too… 

the rules, again: 

•Leave me a comment requesting an interview.

•I will e-mail you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

•You then answer the questions on your blog.

•You should also post these rules along with an offer to interview anyone else who e-mails you wanting to be interviewed. 

•Anyone who asks to be interviewed should be sent 5 questions to answer on their blog.
•It would be nice if the questions were individualized for each blogger.

 

and the questions… 

4. What’s the nicest compliment you’ve received recently about you (as opposed to a compliment about something you’ve done). 

even after all this time.. you know me so well. i don’t take well to compliments about me whereas, something i’ve done? well, that’s easily brushed aside, shrugged away, ‘no big deal’-ed. 

i remember saying recently ‘that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me’ but i don’t remember who to, what about or if it was sarcastic/ironic in tone and intonation. 

i think that the nicest compliment about me recently would have to be ‘you’re a better leprechaun than me. you dance better too.’ or a paraphrase thereof of those sentiments. thanks phil. 

 

5. By your reckoning, am I, Gordon Strachan, going to hell, and why/ why not?

hmphf. well, i had to know that this question would appear in some form. something to do with religion. and thats ok. and i’m going to try my best to answer it fully and honestly. 

the disclaimer to all of this us that i am  not a judge- there is no one qualified to judge a mans heart but God. but i guess you’ll see that as a cop out. 

as it stands, right now, with the information i have (you don’t believe in God, or Jesus as your saviour, you don’t have a personal relationship with God/Jesus etc) as far as i understand from what i know of the bible and from the fact that i hold it to be true, bearing in mind that none of us know what will happen on judgement day and that ‘he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent’ (2peter3.9b), yes. and also i don’t know. i really don’t know. there’s no way that i can know. 

i realise i sound like a fundamentalist and the worst, most confused kind at that, but there’s no really good way to answer that. 

from all i know of God through the bible and through personal experience, he doesn’t want you to go there, but that fact is that every single one of us ‘sins’. (by that i mean anything that hurts God. and since you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe in sin either, i’m guessing. broad strokes, but these are big concepts, and sin is a useful word here.) because God is good, he cannot tolerate anything less in his presence. because he is love, he wants us in a close relationship. because he is just, there must be punishment for our wrongdoings, all of which are equal in his eyes, since he is without any wrong. but because he is mercy, he has made a way for us to finally measure up. a free gift. when God looks at his children, those who have accepted Christ are seen as He is seen, pure and spotless. 

in the old testament, the old covenant required the shedding of blood for the sins of the people. the blood would be shed from an animal, a creature that had had the sins of the community put upon it. 

inside the Tabernacle- the place where the priests communicated with the Lord, where his presence was, there was an ark. a box in which the commandments were kept. the ark was a symbol of the covenant God had with his people, where they could repent from their sins with a costly sacrifice. the important thing about this ark was that it had a cover, called the atonement cover. whenever God looked down on the ark of the covenant, the sins of the people were obscured by the atonement cover, God no longer saw them. 

in a similar way, we are covered by the sacrifice Jesus made, so that when God looks down at those of us who have accepted his Son, he sees us as clean by proxy. of course, we still have to admit to sin and ask forgiveness. part of the relationship that we have as part of the new covenant (Jesus on the cross) is that we will, as we grow closer to God want to obey him more, want to do things that are pleasing to him rather than upsetting- exactly as anyone would in any new relationship.

Jesus is the new sacrificial lamb, taking on our sins on his sinless self. so that instead of having to offer a multitude of animals for the multitude of sins that we all commit, there is a once and for all sacrifice. Jesus is the new covenant, the new relationship between us and God, our intercessor. he gave himself wholeheartedly to a relationship, a relationship of love. this quote is a good descriptor of why i believe. of how i hold the tension of my imperfect sinful self and the knowledge of who Jesus is and why i love him. 

so although this a long answer, i’m trying to be as honest as i can, i don’t want to hurt you, but i also don’t want to lie to you. but its hard not really knowing anymore where exactly you’re coming from. so i’m sorry if i’ve offended anyone and i’m sorry if there was a more grace-filled path i could have taken, but didn’t. 

 

anyway, those were the questions and these are my answers. eeek.

right… 

an old school friend of mine recently re-started a blog. i say re-started, for a while there were three with the distinctive mucky fingerprints of a certain Nodrog, esq. all over them. However, this new one seems set to stick for a while. (he’s been blogging almost as long as me, on and off.) (I’ve got a little bit of a compulsion to properly capitalise today. I really don’t know why and have alraeady un-capitalised at least three words. strange.)

so, on this new blog, he was ‘interviewed’ by a reader/friend. and offered us, his readers/friends the chance to also be interviewed. which out of curiousity, i accepted. now, i have five questions of my own to answer, and, gordon, be assured, they are good questions. man, you always make me think. 

so, without further ado, though possibly with a break in the middle, here are the rules, and some if not all (depending on the length of the answers) of the questions. feel free to join the game/ask more questions. 

the rules: 

•Leave me a comment requesting an interview.

•I will e-mail you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

•You then answer the questions on your blog.

•You should also post these rules along with an offer to interview anyone else who e-mails you wanting to be interviewed. 

•Anyone who asks to be interviewed should be sent 5 questions to answer on their blog.
•It would be nice if the questions were individualized for each blogger.

and now.. the questions:

1. What is the most recent thing you’ve put off longer than is really necessary or appropriate, and why?

aside from the usual coursework left til the last minute, i guess the biggest thing that would spring to mind might be getting baptised. it was in the back of my mind for probably about a year, possibly longer, definitely since i saw some of my friends getting ‘dunked’. i let two opportunities go past without doing anything, partially because i wanted to get my own thinking and theology on the whole issue straight but also partially because i was scared. and i hadn’t really at that point trusted God or myself enough to do what He was prompting me to do. so once i went to Pakistan and understood that when He calls its a good idea to listen and to follow, i was more ready to take that step. part of what i was scared of and put off by was giving my testimony. its not something i do often and though it is mostly fairly ‘run-of-the-mill’ (in as much as anyone’s life can be run-of-the-mill) there are parts of it that i find hard to share- to know when is appropriate to tell it and when it should be left unsaid. anyone who knows me well will know my story- particularly those two years over fifth and sixth year at school, and so i don’t often feel compelled to share that with rooms of strangers. anyway, after much thought and prompting i did it, and the parts of the story that i told were the parts that were meant to be told. and it was great, i need to learn from that and stop putting things off so much. 

i’m not entirely sure how much that answered your question, but hopefully it’s close enough… 

 

2. It’s 2019, you’re 31 years old, where would you hope to be by then?  How determined are you to make this reality?

wow. 31, huh? i would like to have started a community arts cafe. i would like to be living somewhere that i am not renting. i would like to be back in glasgow. i would like to have kids around. 

how determined am i? well, i’m hoping that this september will bring with it the internship i applied for, meaning i can develop my skills further and will be a-ok to set up my own business at some point with the help of other people who understand business better than i do (luckily, i know a few people like that). hopefully, if i manage to set up something like that we’ll start earning some revenue so that we can pay everyone involved a decent wage- and i can put a deposit on a flat… hopefully this business will be in glasgow. and hopefully it will involve lots of kids. and maybe my friends will be having kids too.. maybe i’ll even have kids of my own… who knows. but even if i can’t have a community arts cafe,i can at least still be doing a job that i love. which is my main goal for ten years time. to be doing a job a love with people that i love. 

 

3. Aside from the odd chance meeting, I’ve not seen you for over 2 years.  How different, if at all, do you think you are since we last properly hung out?  

hmmm. it has been two years. i remember when you and lou and jen all came through in first year… you and lou got lost getting back to jobby hill, and then jen and dave and i couldn’t get into halls. that was fun. 

how much have i changed since two years ago? quite a lot i think, i’m a lot happier about who i am. i have learnt a lot about how i interact with people. i have set and achieved goals. i have a group of friends with whom i am comfortable and who i am learning to be more honest with. i know i don’t have all the answers, but i am enjoying beginning to live into the questions. 

i’m beginning to be comfortable in my own skin. i’ve been on a journey of understanding who i am, in myself and in Christ. and i’ve had the support of wonderful friends and a great housegroup and church in doing so. i’ve been challenged and i’ve grown. 

superficially.. well, my hair is currently pink. its longer than it has been in ages. i’ve added to the piercings in my ears and i have a nose ring. i usually wear contacts, but sometimes glasses from pakistan. if i wear jewellery, i have a small selection: a button necklace, a glass heart necklace or a gold locket. i wear a watch made with buttons from kenya. 

i’ve started going to the gym regularly to try and get fit again. i suck at computer games. i like going for adventures. conversations range from food, weather, uni work, the american elections, american politics in general (but only when i’m talking to james and mostly he talks and i nod, confusedly), foreign countries, mission, God, church, the bible, sexuality, sex, nature, relationships, school, work, people, boys, girls, ‘that time of the month’ (c’mon, i live with three girls, of course we talk about periods, and other things you probably don’t want to know about), illness, food intolerances, bowel movements… happily i’d talk to you about any or all of these things. 

i guess i’m not sure how you’d think i’d changed. we should go for coffee and then you can tell me… :)

an email i never sent said this:

Ugh
I’ve had a sucky weekend. david and roz were up for bens birthday, and they were staying at bens. so i was gonna go out with them after i’d been to work, but no-one told me where they were going til too late, and since i wasn’t in the mood to go to campus til 2 or 3am, i went home on my own. which was ok. the walk up was no scarier than ever before. colder but not scarier. saturday was good, to begin with. i met david and roz for coffee in beanscene (well, i stood at the tube, freezing for half an hour cos they missed their first bus) which was nice, we had a nice chat and they were thinking of staying at mine overnight. as it turned out, they didn’t, cos ben didn’t take the hint etc..anyway, i went to work, first shift was fine, but then i lost helena so i didn’t go to cafe hula for good food, i got crap food (in comparison) from sainsburies. blugh. then the second shift was madness. kristi was ill. the dress bar was shut, so upper (where i was) was mobbed. i had to cash up progs, count ice creams etc very fast, then help pour interval drinks. then i worked on the bar in the interval. its hell. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggggggggggggggg
gggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
oh yeah, and i didn’t get out til 10.45 and i had to wait til 11.30 to get my keys from roz and see them into the garage cos i didn’t have enough money to go out and then get home. so that was pants.
church this morning was really good though, it was a good sermon and i got to chat to a load of folks i knew. so that was nice. went for lunch at whistlers mother with debbie and her friend.. then to beanscene (for a location change) to get h/choc and cheesecake.. got a bus to meet gokboz and scott to go to kirkie baptist evening service. today was good. i was just tired and kept feeling like i was missing out on something.
yesterday when i got home after work (at after 12) i came in to find that everyone had been to tchaiovna and i was quite jealous. i really want to go and it was stupid and irrational but i wanted to tell people about it cos my friend mike told me. but i haven’t even been. i just kinda felt like a total reject.
anyway.
so that was where i was at two years ago.
i am much more settled now.