Monday, 7 April 2008

With meaning

How careful we have to be in choosing our words if we are to successfully convey our intended meaning.
Whatever the particular words may be, they have their own specific meaning or range of meaning and this is unchanging. The words themselves convey their own truth, and, if we are to leave the hearer or the reader with the intended understanding, any choice of interpretation has to be narrowed right down by the context in which those words are being used as well as by our considered use of supplementary words and careful use of grammar. And still we can get it wrong through the simple fact that we have spoken aloud or shared our written words with others. We are no more able to transfer the fullness of our thoughts and feelings to the minds of others than we can fully share that which fills our hearts. Even when the words have flowed from what fills the heart and their production has been heartfelt, they carry no guarantee of being received in the same way. The best we can hope for is to get close to their doing so for at least some of those who give attention to what we say.
Clearly there are vast areas in which the numbers of potential hearers has no bearing whatever on the audibility of the message -“those who have ears to hear” again - but even among those who may show interest, or who are searching hard for something to touch their own spirit, the words, and the way of writing or speaking must suit their own inner world if they are to receive what we are striving to offer.
What the actual situation is for any of us remains unknown, but it is obvious that a well known name in a person’s particular field of interest will have a far greater reach and influence than a random unknown voice such as my own. However, anyone using words on any subject, in any way other than in idle chatter, must assume that someone somewhere is listening; without that assumption their efforts are pointless and will remain forever sterile, and that is not what words are about.

I have my own way of thinking about this in relation to my own words.
As a start-point I have my reasons for beginning this ‘Soliloquy at The Very Edge’, as already spoken of in various earlier posts. My sense of having been filled to overflowing remains, and though it seems to ebb and flow in different directions the underlying feeling is still of brimming over: of having no control over something that quietly wells up within and flows ceaselessly into the world around me. The sense of indestructible peace this has generated in my life is undeniable but unexplainable. Though I may try to explain it at times I am aware that it is in fact beyond words; it is beyond whatever fills my heart. It is beyond my ability to explain because it is beyond my ability to fully comprehend; and the reason for that is simply because it is not from within me: it has been poured into me from without. It is sometimes tear-jerkingly, and always awe-inspiringly from beyond.
This peace is not a prompting as such for me to do anything, but is so significant in my life, and so much something I wish everyone could share in, that it has the same effect: it is part of my reason for being here, and without it I am sure I would not be filled to the brim and would not be continually drawn to the edge. It is a peace born of having had burdens lifted and of having been lifted from the dust; another step along the way (see 06.01.07 post). ‘You have raised me up. You have healed me Lord.’

The product of this is my belief that I have something to say. I still do not know what it is, but I am still here in the hope that some of it will leak out among the words that I pray do not overly confuse, distract or detract from my own journey or from anyone else’s.
If any of us feels we have something to say we should firmly believe that someone somewhere wants to hear it. I believe that in my own case and would urge you to that same belief in relation to your own thoughts and words. A God given confidence has to start somewhere, and this could be the starting point for you. How can we begin to move towards His will for us, towards becoming the people we are meant to be, without a confidence that He is calling us to follow, not from some far off place but from right beside us and from within us ?
I tell myself that one in every ten people who come to and view these pages just might linger long enough to wonder whether ... ? ... and of these perhaps half may find something that makes them stay a little longer (one in twenty).
Our interests may be many and varied, they overlap, they wax and they wane, and it takes time for interest, questioning and wondering to develop into the recognizable beginnings of a journey. I count on only one in five of these to stay the course long enough to become one of my unknown companions.
I am now down to one in a hundred, and this is where I tell myself I may be needed – but for three out of every four of these it will be for a brief period only. For them, I am perhaps part of God’s provision for them during a short stage of their journey; they may walk with me for a while until they are helped further along the way through their own encounters with truth. For one it will be the love and the touch of God the Father, for another the presence of The Risen Lord: the reality of Jesus in their life. For the third it will be the indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit that lifts them into a whole new life. They will meet further down the road when the ungraspable truths of the Holy Trinity become an intangible reality for them.
And what of the fourth ? The one person in every four hundred who stumble upon my words ?
This is the man or woman who, though hopefully finding their rebirth with the other three, also has need of a more tangible and fallible fellow traveller: a fellow sinner who continues to struggle along the way but who is resolved never to give up the search.
This fellow sinner is me.
And that one person in four hundred is the one for whom I most need to continue speaking from the heart.

All this is simply a way I have of trying to rationalize something which cannot be assessed and calculated in that way.
It is meaningless other than as a reminder that if my words are helpful to anyone – to only one – my efforts are worthwhile. It helps to anchor my belief that everything I feel compelled to do is of some importance: that it is filled with meaning. And if there were ever to be a group of twelve of us, separate, unknown, yet still companions for the journey, that number would be the remnant of four thousand eight hundred people who had found this spot. The fact that there are billions of us is not relevant; we are each called to do our bit, wherever we are, and I have found a way of attempting to help in the feeding of five thousand.

‘May the words of my mouth always find favour,
and the whispering of my heart,
in your presence, Lord,
my rock, my redeemer.’
(Psalms 19:14)

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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