Taking your head out the sand
This week has been a sobering time for me on a number of fronts, and it’s in that vein that I bring you this “step-back-and-see-the-bigger-picture” letter.
Just like in Babylon where I had the Hamans of my time, so your government looks fraught with problems, and for some that raises fear.
But, as Peter preached last sunday, fear is the opposite of love. And if we allow the fear of political change, or anything else, in our lives, that’s an attack on God’s love in our lives and our ability to love. There’s only one good fear; fear God, Yirat Adonai
It was one of those clean afternoon skies when the entire mountain was touchable and the air was washed and cool. I made my way up the narrow stairway corridors that ladder Tamboerskloof, between the palaces of glass and steel. Up and up till the legs objected. It is here that the fynbos brow of Signal Hill beckons and some wildness returns, even though the Bowl lies below and about you. You can see our flat’s windows and balcony between the trees, and St. Barnabas further, and then the broad sweep of humanity beyond till the Hottentot-Holland mountains settle a blue horizon again.
On this afternoon, wet humus was under the green, and the fynbos was clothed in its multiple layers of purples and pinks and oranges. I found an old stump and settled with air returning to my lungs and thoughts slowly turning. I eyed the plants about me and saw among the usual little clumps, the long leaves of Port Jackson trees. As I trained on them I noticed that these Australian wonders had indeed come under spring’s sway and were making short shrift of this patch of hillside. Indeed, they were not alone in their tenacity, for about me were small conifers in bright green foliage, perhaps seeds having been blown here from recent fires. Below me was a small stand of Eucalyptus. It was a good viewing platform and my seat was good, so declining my normal bent to be amidst an unspoilt vestige, I elected to remain where I was.
There it was. The mountain was vast, clearly featured and rooted. About me was that which came from a hand of splendid order and endless detail upon detail, observed and not. But below, like some malignant breath, in dull uniformity, the ordinary and the uninspired eked out its drab life. It settled on me quite quickly that all this was very personal. Charges of joy and singing, yet scarred and mantled with some strange livery. It was I who now found some uninvited allegory bearing down on my thirsting heart. It was my soul which heard the telling whisper of Spirit. Here was the place of restoration. Amongst the sullied, re-creation.
And if so, then so too for what lay about me. This strange mass of humanity all lopsided together. A Messiah walked the streets below, the sidewalks and winding lanes. How narrow of thought, how fortunate in misfortune were those who I counted with me on the hillside this day. Here on the side of the mountain, I knew that this was not a place without its own sadness. It can never be that what is truly good ends without grief, however bound. That is a part of my story, our stories. But out of all the worst possible sadness, new life will indeed bud forth.