Monday, 8 June 2020

Monday 8 June

Day 85 and the start of Phase 3 here in Spain.

It's been a fine and sunny day here today. But still, after the front door slammed several times with the through-draught, I found myself still thinking about the wind ... about the things that get blown around and the things that stay put; about the times we bemoan the wind and the times we long for it to blow.

[Photo by Bobby Burch on Unsplash]

I have written elsewhere about a posture of passivity and the metaphor of a sailboat, sails set and ready to go the moment the wind gusts from the right direction. The same picture keeps coming to mind as I - and maybe many of us - hold the tension between the things we can do and the things we can only get ready to do, should the Spirit energise our preparations with his action. I seem to find myself working on several fronts these days that require a letting go, on the one hand, and a determined anticipation, on the other.

Take our parenting of our adopted daughter, for one. At 12 years old, she is pretty clear that she doesn't want to talk deeply about her origins or about race. I respect that, she gets to set the pace on this one and right now she's not ready. But you've got to know that I am taking a posture of alert readiness: when she opens that particular door, I want to be ready to walk through it with her. I don't feel passive; on the contrary, I feel watchful, prayerful and expectant. At the same time, I know that this is no rowboat for me to paddle. Sails up and ready, I wait for the wind to turn in that direction.

Then there's the launching of our older daughter into a life in the UK for the next four years of training. She needs to learn to drive, she needs to make friends, she needs to adapt to British culture, she needs to find a church community, she needs to find a job. I want so badly to sail that ship into a safe harbour, but that's not my job. My job is to help her prepare her sails, to be ready for the opportunities and invitations that will come to her at the right time. I can't sail that particular ship - I ain't the captain and I ain't the wind.

Then there's plans for the future. After 85 days of lockdown, there are training courses that I had hoped would already be well underway, or at least planned with a degree of certainty by now. There are other projects my husband and I want to work on together, and we have to recognise that this is not a time for forcing and pushing. It is a time for setting our sails, so we draw up various possibilities, we work on our ideas and make lots of room for dreaming. We prepare ourselves by reading, and learning, and connecting with people. And we wait for the wind to blow, without stressing that it will be late or that it may never come at all.

This posture of alert readiness lifts the burden for the outcome - and for finding the 'right' way to achieve the outcome - from our shoulders. Our responsibility is simply to be ready, to do the next small yet vital thing that prepares the vessel to set sail. The final responsibility for whether the boat actually makes it to the other shore rests with the wind.

I wonder if this resonates with you today? Perhaps you have plans that are now uncertain? Maybe you have hopes for your life that you unable to make happen on your own? How would it be for you to consider ways to 'set your sails' and, once engaged in that, rest in the posture of surrender to the wind?

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