Monday, October 24, 2005

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

...gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily..........WATERFALL!!!

That's pretty much how my life looks right now. For the past four and a half years I've been floating down a long and winding river on a journey of discovery, growth and revelation. I've had my share of battles, the most fierce of which were against my own failings and flaws. I've explored new areas of life, ministry and God, and invested myself in projects and positions. Up until a year ago I'd never considered writing, three and half years ago, singing, and a couple of years ago, marriage and relationships. I've wrestled with ministry and the church, so many ideas and passions I can't list them all, and after all this floating I came to this morning.

09:00, October 24, my mother and brother stepped out of the boat and God lead them onto some other path in some other part of the world. Right now they'll be airborne heading East; and only the weeks and months ahead will tell what is to come. As for me, well, after we said our good-bye's, I stepped into the boat, now much roomier, and although in some ways it feels as though it's back to business as usual, it's not, because I happen to know that despite its winding path this river will come to an abrupt end in just over two short months. After that...well that's the question.

I suppose I could just ride the boat until the end, hold on for dear life and see where I end up, but that's more the Ostrich option which is neither practical nor wise. So then, what other options? Well, technically speaking the whole world is wide open, I could go anywhere, do anything, but that's true for any of us - we could at any moment just walk out of the door and leave. We could pick and direction and walk or drive and see what happens. We could pick any notion, make a decision and aim at it. If I started to just daydream and write about any idea that comes to mind I might well write my longest blog to date, which would be saying something. So instead, I'll stick with what have been my major options to this point. The paths which I have been considering taking.

I could choose stay in this locale, and before the boat goes over the falls, take a friend and join a bigger boat heading down an even windier, exciting path. That boat could lead anywhere at any time and offers much which I know not. Certainly this path offers a lifetime of challenges and a lifetime of certain rewards, but the specifics are very few indeed. Though it would be a definite path for my next few weeks and months, maybe years, it is more a different way of following paths and not a path in itself. It has no forseeable end, and it is only a decision to be made once and it is not a decision to be steped into and out of. It's also one that is should be divinely inspired and thoroughly practical, I would not make it lightly.

Alternatively, I could leave this place entirely, maybe with, maybe without, that friend, and head off to other parts. Having landed on the East again, I could take a path which few successfully finish, and I would then be fixed upon that path for the next few years. A great challenge and a great adventure, testing me in ways that have never been explored, travelling around the world, and seeing what happens. This stream is only open to me until mid-way through next year, after which time it will be inaccessible. It's possible something similar could open up at any time in the future, but that is not something to plan on or looked forward to - but instead responded to should the moment arise.

If not that path though, then I could choose to return to the place where I started, before I ever came here. Revisiting all the oldest friends and places but as a new man and in new ways. Spending time alone and seeking God, I could roam the hills, and perhaps fill the pulpits and see where, from there, God might next take me. What opportunities there are here is uncertain. There much of the old that could be taken up in new ways but this isn't something final, but a move towards a crossroads, a tavern, where opportunities meet.

Assuming that God does not bring along another option out of the blue, which is in truth a great possibility - but one which I cannot bank on or prepare for - I have some decisions to make. This is the place where theology, faith and trust meet reality. I've been on paths alone before, yet not in this way. Truly I am master of my own voyage at this point, and life is totally open. I can choose to submit it to God or take it up myself, yet whatever the case, things are now between God and myself only, and no-one else. That is different.

So here I am in my boat. One mile stone has passed, and I am floating down this not-for-long river. Fortunately, for now, I have the company of friends and mentors so I do not float alone. They though have their roots, and depending upon the path I choose, I may soon leave them.

Look Oh Lord. Here is a life. Guide it and use it. Lead it and protect it. It belongs to you.