In my earlier post I quoted Frederick Buechner who encourages us to listen to our lives, to listen not only to the good stuff, the things that might make up a Facebook status that we want people to see and know about us, but also the challenging, difficult and dark stuff, the stuff we would want to hide even from ourselves if we could.
That thought came to me today when, having thrown myself out to buy some baptism certificates, I had an unexpected conversation in the Christian Bookshop in Blackpool. I always value these unexpected encounters, I believe that when we are open then God can speak to us in the depths of our beings and call forth a response when we are willing.
The conversation today was focused on decisions we might make if we knew what was coming in life, and I reflected that had I known the turn of events that would transpire when I moved to Blackpool then I probably would not have come! That said I have to acknowledge that an exercise in listening to my life would have revealed that those events would have transpired anyway…
What I cannot do however is allow myself to enter into a dialogue where the starting point is “if only”…
If only I had realised….
If only I had known….
If only I hadn’t done that….
That conversation can lead only one way, down a dead end street where I beat myself up repeatedly with regrets that cannot be undone. I was able to reflect on the gifts that being in Blackpool has brought me, the friendships I have made with so many diverse people who have helped to reveal to me that God truly does accept me with no strings attatched other than the truth that I am his!
I am his even though life has not panned out as I would have planned it!
I am his even though I experience dark days, he walks with me through the valleys, and never leaves me.
I am his even though I have experienced pain, I am his because I find him in and through those experiences I would not have chosen.
I am his, and when I say even though, it reveals a depth of love, holy love that I would never have known if I had not entered the valley, or encountered the hard times…
I am his, no longer my own because I know no other way to be, I echo Peter’s words “to whom shall I go” if not to you Lord…
So today my choice is to listen to my life, to listen deeper, to listen for the nuances and cadences, to listen to the unforced rhythms of grace that God pulses through my soul to remind me that I am alive through him and I am his.
Picture waves of grace (mine)