The older I get the more complex, life seems to be and the more simple. One of the priveleges of having been a pastor/minister, is the opening of my life to hundreds of people, in a way that I wouldn't be able to do, and wasn't able with my previous jobs. It didn't mean I wasn't connected to people and life, just that the volume of life of others I experience has increased so much.
Along with that comes the experience, and at times flood tide of pain. Of abuse, drugs, still births, illness, young people dying, mental illness, abandonement, divorce, criticism, hostility, loss, more loss, and even more loss. Sometimes in the face of this, life seems too hard, too complex, utterly overwhelminging and I want to run for the hills, live in the countryside, scale back my exposure to people, to the few I can handle.
My life with my own family, of alcoholic and abusive parents, of siblings in dire situatiions is overwhelming enough, I often feel I have no bandwidth for anyone else.
Yet in the midst of this, I find a stillness, that is growing, a peace around my faith and love for Jesus. The increasing times, I have to open my arms, and my heart to Him, and say I can't cope, and then sometimes sense his comfort and prescence.
French Philosopher Paul Ricoeur described the challenge of life to faith as - the move from a naivety of faith through a â€˜desert of criticismâ€™ and into a second naivety of faith. I feel I am often in a dessert of loss and grief. I long for the second naivety of faith. When C S Lewis wrote about the loss of his wife, he wrote 'Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything'.
I take heart from Luther, and increasingly see that God is most revealed in death of Christ on the Cross, that these experiences can be taken to the cross, and I can experience the cross in my own, soul, mind, spirit and body. That I can pray and ask God to help me see through these times, and experiences and find Jesus.
And my hope is the resurrection and Glory of God, that transforms all these moments, in Christ.