Sunday, 5 August 2012

Two times two

It's been a while since I ventured blogward. Two years, two countries and two lives later. Two lives because two became one last summer when I got married to my lovely wife Seonaid. This has definitely changed my life more than a blog can ever describe, in so many mysterious, surprising and wonderful ways. I have really enjoyed this Transitional year of losing my oneness for a new twoness. Two countries because I have left the shores of ulster, again, spending a pleasant but windy eighteen months in the city on the rock. Edinburgh was wonderful but now a second country calls, the country within a city within a kingdom within England, they call London. What a time to come back to live and work in London, its eternal heart is beating faster then ever before and pumping a world of Olympic tourists through its coloured tubes. Colour is everywhere, in it's people, it's posters, medals and streets. Come and see is all I say, this place is really alive this summer. Two years goes fast these days, I guess it always did but now I really feel it. And I am thinking what am I really doing with it, two here, two there, passing from one phase to another from one season to the next. How do we know what are twos are adding up to, or does it matter? Hopefully all will become clear in two more years....

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bumping into the be-known....

Sometimes strange things happen. We see someone we used to know, from school or work or somewhere, or recognise someone but just cannot work out from where. Does anyone else experience this inner questioning when this happens, where do I know that person from? Why have I bumped into that person three times in a year in different places, in different countries even? Why do I keep bumping into people who keep mentioning things that trigger past memories or future hopes?

People and collisions with strange-be-known folk continues to fascinate me. For instance I went to a Snow Patrol concert last weekend in my hometown, Bangor (Norn Ironand), and as I went through the turnstiles I saw a girl I recognised from London. I knew she lived in the same area of south London that I used to live in as I recognised her from getting on the same tube train several times. Even then I knew I recognised her from somewhere. I notice these types of people collisions more and more these days.

My question is what do they mean in the greater scheme of things, does it matter, is it important? How do these collisions and conversations we encounter in our lives impact our thoughts, our memories or our directions. Should they affect anything.

I think understanding how we think about the encounters we experience can help us know who we are. My own thoughts are that we are be-known to a very observant and interested creator who sees our every movement, knows our every thought and is interested in every detail of our lives. I think this is happening to each one of us at all times, though we may rarely stop to ponder it. And each people collision in our lives is be-known to him, is within his view and may even have a purpose be-known to him but unknown to us. Have you ever thought about any of these things, about bumping into people unexpectedly, about being be-known? If so I would be interested in your thoughts.

Until next time...

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Expulsion of Compulsions

It is exam season here at college and today I sat my first one. I am very thankful that it is over and that I was able to say something, lets hope it was worthwhile. I trust there will be something useful in it. I must admit I struggle to remember quotes well, my mind just doesn't seem to be designed to remember long sentences. Number, places, faces, silly ideas but long sentences or verses.... doh there seems to be a lack of oil in that part of the engine. I pray that more oil will flow in that part of my engine.

One of the books I read for today's exam is called The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen. He was a Dutch catholic priest who led a fairly colourful, varied life and had deep interest in psychology and God. I must say he's one of the more enjoyable writers I've read this year. He said something very profound in this book, "compulsive is the best adjective to describe false self". This really struck me. Can any of you identify to being compulsive in anyway?

I know I can and have been in many ways. I compulsively want to eat chocolates when I see them on my parents' coffee table, I compulsively want to daydream when I should be working and I have compulsively looked at pretty girls when I should be doing something a bit more productive. That's not to say there is anything wrong with any of these things in their own right but when they become objects of compulsive behaviour then we are driving into this cul-de-sac of false self that Nouwen identifies.

So if compulsive behaviour leads to false self, what leads to true self? That is perhaps a more difficult question.... I will ponder that some more..

Until next time..

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Blogging as belonging & kairospoints........

This is my first blog, as far as I can recollect. What is the purpose of Blogging then? That is the question Shakespeare asked his cat I'm sure. Will Blogging help me to be a member of a B-longing community, that is another question.

I am not quite sure what I will Blog-Blong about here but I will try and reflect on some of the little things in life that are important to me and hopefully will help you see what is important to you.

I am currently a student again, a mature one at 35, I have spent the past year at Belfast Bible college following my road to Blonging. The main thing in life that provides constant joy and fascination for me is the way things seem to happen, little things, big things, by coincident... There are always the big things, why am I here, why was I born in this place to these parents, why can I not stop eating chocolate bars, why do I keep making the same silly mistakes, why can't I find a job that satisfies??? I think these are big things..

But then there are the little things, like why did I meet a guy today who knew a guy who knew a guy I met in London a few years ago. Or how come my fiance whom I met in my back garden in London had a grandfather who came from the same town as me in Northern Ireland, and even went to my school. Or how come I spoke to an American teacher at college last week whose mum grew up in an area of London that I used to live in.

How come when I was baptised in a little church in Bangor (NI) in 2005, a little old lady came up to me afterwards and told me the name and address of a missionary she knew in London. It took me over six months to check out that address, it turned out to be the next road parallel to where my flat was in Southfields (nr. Wandsworth) in London. In fact the house was almost directly in line with my front door, over the top of the house opposite mine. Nobody was in and I got a message put through my door a couple of days later, saying that nobody of that name lived at that address. That was that, I thought.

Until June 2009 when I found myself working for London City Mission, and got into conversation with missionary called Ernie one night on Leicester square. He was originally from Belfast and had been working with the mission for about 30 years. As he left to catch his bus, I asked him where he was headed, Wandsworth he said. Off he rushed, but his answer had triggered a memory. Next time I saw him I asked which road he lived in? Sure enough, it was the very same road that little old lady had written down on a napkin in 2005 but also that road that was one street along from my own flat in London - a city with many streets indeed. This doesn't answer any particularly big questions but it's just one of many little co-incidents or kairospoints that I have noticed over the past 7 years.

Until next time.