Human beings are a work-in-progress. There is no point at which we are ‘sorted’, finally formed and fully fledged. Physically, spiritually, and emotionally, we are always changing, whether we are aware of it, or not. That changing, most days, most of the time, is subtle. Sometimes that changing is violent – as it was for me when I broke down in January.
As I resume public ministry, I think it matters that you are not misled. I am not ‘sorted’. Though better, I am not fully well - perhaps I never will be. I’m not even sure what that means. What I am is me, a bruised and bewildered pilgrim of life and faith, learning to love rather than despise myself; seeking to reconcile the little boy who longs to be loved with the man and minister the world gets to see.
Over these next few months I shall be working part-time. I’m going to give it a go. I need your help, if you’re up for it, as we journey together. I could do without too many enquiries as to how I am, please; and advice, however lovingly well-meant, would be better not offered. What I need most is to be held - not physically (tricky anyway at present) but in your thoughts and prayers.
Julian of Norwich, remembered on Saturday, envisioned Love as an act of holding. In her ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ she writes
He showed me more, a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, on the palm of my hand, round like a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought “What may this be?” And the answer came “It is all that is made”.
I marvelled that it continued to exist and did not suddenly disintegrate; it was so small. And again my mind supplied the answer, “it exists, both now and for ever, because God loves it.” In short, everything owes its existence to the love of God.
Note how it is Julian’s palm, not God’s, in which the nut-like creation is held. The gift, and the risk, of divine entrusting. An awesome vision. An awesome responsibility.
I am learning afresh to trust, and to love. It is the adventure of a lifetime. I hope you will join me.