Tuesday, 8 May 2007


Yesterday, my sifting of words brought an unexpected and somewhat confusing shift in my understanding.
Not for the first time, I found I had been unduly influenced by the feeling of having been blessed rather than allowing the blessing itself to influence me, and had thus failed to recognize the simplicity, as well as the extent of the availability of the blessing.
But within a few hours I became aware that there had been a further shift back towards my start-point.
The end result is that I now have a deeper appreciation of what I have received.

At first it seemed I had gone off at a tangent, distracted and drawn away from confidence in my understanding of myself by my own choice of words in my previous post. I wrote that we need to recognize a confirmation of God’s touch in the peace and the untroubled nature of that which fills us. The very mention of our being filled set things in motion.
I had, in fact, been unduly influenced by the supposed recognition of my having allowed my feelings to unduly influence me.
(Well may you believe it little wonder that the writer needs to do a lot of sorting out before he even knows what he thinks !)

My perception had been advanced, but my mind needed time to adjust to this slightly clearer view of reality: to assimilate the full meaning of this revelation. I had jumped to a conclusion before giving myself time to unravel all the information.
That I need to do this unravelling confirms the feeble vulnerability of my human nature, and the slowness of my thinking.
That I seek constantly to turn revelation into a framework of information in the first place – information I alone have produced - confirms my shamefully poor willingness and ability to allow revelation to speak and grow within me, without any self-generated tampering, adjustment, embellishment or dilution.

I had laid out my overlapping thoughts before me, as though a collage upon the ground where I could see them more clearly, and walk slowly among them. Some disintegrated as my steps disturbed them, rising, fragmenting, and settling again as dust. Others remained intact, and - as it were - wafted upwards to be read and re-thought. These were blended into the beginnings of what became the previous post, but during this process my perception was given a nudge.
It seemed that I was being knocked off course, but within moments I realized (wrongly) that I had been straying from the path I was intended to tread; I thought I had been looking from the wrong angle and was being put back on track.

I had been pondering the fact that I am brim full for a reason: that it is a blessing I have been given for a reason, and that I am in a place to which I have been brought for a reason.
I am not able to hide from it, and I am not able to retreat from it. I am still unaware of where it is leading me, and perhaps it is for this reason that I was pondering it, and am still thinking about it and writing about it here.
Feeling so filled is not a state from which there could be any wish to hide, or any desire to retreat; it engenders only a longing to be led to where I am meant to be, and an inability to simply sit back with closed eyes in a dream of contentment.
It is a sensation of having been brought closer to all that is good, to something once held but long since lost, as though within sight of Eden, and, though there is a very real pull towards it, the greater compulsion is not to walk within, but to take the wonder and the peace that emanates from it into the near desolation stretching to the horizon around it; to walk, with Jesus, through the world of labour and pain into which Adam and Eve were banished, and in which we all spend our lives.

It strikes me how closely my description of the sensation fits a powerful visual image that haunted me for some time a few years ago.
It was during the period when the Benedictine community at Stanbrook Abbey were discerning God’s will for their future; having to work towards a difficult decision. Should they stay? Should they move?
My image was of a single figure, a Benedictine sister, standing alone on the bare ground of an empty and featureless plain stretching to the haziness of hills on the far horizon. The image was full of a glaring, energy-sapping, desiccating light: the sun as destroyer, not as the growth-giving warmth and light that it becomes when in company with the water of life.
Everything made very clear that this was desert, but the ground upon which she stood, though devoid of plant growth, was good fertile land. The ground was, as it were, longing for something to bring it to life. It would have cried out if it could.
In the midst of that lifeless plain: on that vast potential of receptive and fertile ground, the sister stood, still and confident in her complete knowledge that God had placed her there, and that God would tell her what to do and when to do it. (And probably a great deal more than I could read into it.)
Her black habit spoke powerfully of solidity, permanence and certainty. Her very presence spoke of having been built upon rock, and the potential in her presence matched the potential of the ground upon which she stood.
That potential was conveyed in her single outstretched and slightly cupped hand.
Within the hand one small scoop of grain.

The Stanbrook community will be moving to Yorkshire.
The whole process leading to the final decision, will have ensured that this is where they are meant to be. All doubts and uncertainties are outweighed by the fact that the community already has within it all that it needs to do what God wills in their present situation.
Knowing that the same principle applies to all of us, I must believe that it applies to me.
I must in no way shrink from anything asked of me by belittling my interpretation of the gifts I have received.
My feeling so filled and overflowing, is for a reason.
I briefly believed I had made it more significant than it was; that my awareness was no more than the blessing that is ours very early in our journey towards Him.
The powers that would restrain us never rest; they can create in us a fear of our own pride where none exists, as well as hiding and disguising it when it is real.
I am now more sure than before I started, that I am brim full for a reason; I overflow for a reason; I am where I am for a reason.

‘No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.
In the same way your light must shine in people’s sight, …’ (Matthew 5:15-16)

I am brought to the very edge once more.
A breath-holding, searching and longing edge of anticipation.
My greater conviction will help to ensure that I hold myself here for as long as it takes.

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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