I love these prompts. My answer is always, “everything”. But doing comes from being. Could I be someone different? If I took the mistakes from the past and “fixed them”, would I still be me? Ok, the “me” is not fantastic or even mildly satisfactory.
I remember once speaking to a priest who complained that I was overly sensitive. This came in the midst of a conversation in which the priest lauded various positives. I remember saying to this priest that you cannot have the positives (of me) without the negatives.
SO, there are plenty of things I could do differently. But would I still be me?
By choice, I live alone. It is not misanthropy. It is a choice to be with Jesus. Yet, I do talk and interact with people. This is not an invasion of my “aloneness”. It is part of being alone with Jesus.
So the greatest gift that I can give to someone is my presence. That does not mean being “present” with someone but being present for someone. So I guess the greatest gift someone could give me is their presence. Not seeing me as “objective characteristics” that offer pre-conscienced ideas. But seeing me, listening to me, being present for me. That presence is not physical but always personal.
And, yes, that is Jesus. He offers me his presence! Not always with answers or solutions. Sometimes just hold my hand. And Jesus is polite – he will not force his presence on me. A simple act of surrender – of placing myself in his presence. The Cloud of Unknowning puts it this way, “Trying is my desire”. Kierkegaard speaks of faith as resolution.
I have been trying to organise some thoughts around the religious life. And I found this quote:
The liminal space is an invitation to surrender – an invitation to give over to something larger than self and trust that we will be held and supported with whatever we need in order to navigate the uncertainty. The degree to which we are comfortable or uncomfortable has to do with how we choose to be with what is happening. We can choose to fight against the liminal space and struggle, or to flow with it by listening, sensing, and responding.
Maybe the older mystical writers would call it “the cloud of unknowing”? There is a sense in which the religious life, or Christianity as a whole, is a “what if” life. I think the current Archbishop of Canterbury said that?!
I have skipped a number of the prompts as they were, simply put, way too painful. But today’s looks like something I can work with.
So the short answer is No. The longer one is Noooooo! In reality, I spend so little time with people that I would not have a clue about their character. And, living in the “cult of personality” world, what is character?!
Personally, I trust people way too quickly. I move from acquaintance to friendship and then to enemies for life. And, I admit, mostly my doing.
Oh wow! Tea, and tea, and maybe some tea, and lemon slice, and tea.
I like different types of tea but it has to be loose leaf. The routine is to make a fresh pot of tea in the morning and top it up with water during the day. So it is very strong in the morning and weaker in the evening.
I know that is not very exciting. And I get other items at the supermarket but I always check the tea specials first.
Yes, I have given a speech – a sermon. In fact, a number. I am not sure about performing on stage: I was once in a Year 6 play about the gold rush.
I find the idea of speaking to a large crowd a lot easier to face than speaking to an individual. Not as much instant feedback. In a modern context, it might be considered unusual to listen to a speech – we want instant entertainment and action. I know that I rarely watch a TV show (or the very occasional movie) all the way to the end. So when I speak I am always conscience of the fact that this is a somewhat strange thing. And, by the way, I am never happy with what I say.
Walking! I love my daily walk. I get to see the neighbourhood and the many people in the coffee shops. I can walk everywhere I need to go – church, shops, doctors, etc. Walking is meditation for me. I have been using an app on my phone to map my walks. The technology is so cool, especially when it maps my walk around the supermarket.
This one is super easy: everyone. People who can relate to other people, who can sing or play music, who can draw, who can talk to people, who are not so weird that people walk away from them, who know how to behave in a situation, who know etiquette, who know how to impart information without dominating, who know how to write or speak in proper sentences, who are not physically awkward and feel comfortable in their own bodies, and I could go on and on and on.
Sometimes (often!) I envy people who have no faith. Life would be a little easier as a heathen. I often envy people who are not dominated by their inside life who can just enjoy themselves. People who do not get stuck on an idea and cannot shake it. People who sleep without dreaming.
Maybe that is why green is my favourite colour at the moment.
Sorry that all sounds a little like a reverse slap on the back to myself. “Sorry I am not more intelligent/holy but I know I am much more intelligent/holy than you”.
I think the answer is pretty simple for me – feeling sad. It is still a regular part of my life. Not a part I rejoice in or celebrate. But it is part of me. To be honest, it helps when I have a solid plan for each day. Maybe what I could do less of is define myself by other people and what they expect of me? Or, maybe, I could stop feeling things so deeply?
Yes, I take medication. But the medication is not the answer – it only stops it from bubbling to the surface where it becomes uncontrollable. I have a general feeling of uselessness and being a “third wheel”. I no longer think about ending it. That is a positive!
I cannot change others, I can only change myself. So this is my problem and not someone else’s. I can try to escape into the arms of other people and hope they can fix it. But I have tried that and it was a disaster. I keep saying that everything will become clear but to be honest, I no longer believe that.
Sorry that is a little bit of a downer first thing. It is a positive that I know what my negative is?!