For the first time ever, I go into a new year with no major responsibilities, outside of Anita my wife and Millie, a small dog who thinks she’s a big dog. I’ve stood down my trustee responsibilities and, though I’m still useful to my old business, I’m very happy to stand well back in the shadows and admire what a fantastic job they’re all doing. So, how to spend all this free time?
I’ve had plenty of advice of course; we all find it easier to solve other people’s problems rather than our own! The advice is mostly to do more writing, thinking it might help keep me out of trouble. Very well I shall. I’ve been looking over some of the blogs I’ve written in the last year; some of them are quite decent. I’ll try to keep this up. I’ve also got material crossing my desk (armchair actually; I’ve forsaken a desk), that might interest you if you’re part of the charity world. So I shall send out regular charity briefings. Just ignore them if you aren’t involved in a charity, though I suspect most of my readers are. I’m also up for the occasional guest post; do send me a note if you have something to say.
I won’t just be writing of course. We haven’t travelled much this last couple of years. This year I hope we can make up and do lots of visiting. You will have to be dog friendly though; Millie will go to a kennel, but she prefers to be with us and is a good traveller. The last dog we had would hyperventilate as soon as she got into a car, possibly a reflection on Anita’s ‘boy racer’ tendencies.
What else? I’m already cooking more, Anita’s always careful to applaud even my disasters. I shall even try to pray more. I understand prayer less and less as I go on. Frederick Buechner, one of my favourite authors and theologians talks about his inarticulate, helpless, meagre prayer life. I cling blindly to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s powerful words, ‘More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of’. I shall go on as long as I can with my lists and my mad, scattered, inarticulate cries for God to intervene. Perhaps we should be turning our lives into a prayer.
For me then this will be a softer gentler year. Please stay in touch, press the ‘like’ button or even comment if I say something that resonates. A like is incredibly encouraging. If you disagree I’d like to know; do so gently.
What’s Prayer? It’s shooting shafts into the dark. What mark they strike, if any, who’s to say? It’s reaching for a hand you cannot touch. The silence is so fathomless that prayers like plummets vanish in the sea. You beg. You whimper. You load God down with empty praise. You tell him sins that he already knows full well. You seek to change his changeless will. Yet Godric prays the way he breathes, for else his heart would wither in his breast. Prayer is the wind that fills his sail. Else waves would dash him on the rocks, or he would drift with witless tides. And sometimes, by God’s grace, a prayer is heard.
-Originally published in Godric