wandering…

not-all-who-wander-are-lostInspired by a quote on the TR14 dance group’s t-shirts from yesterday’s TEDxExeter event that I helped out with (assistant clicker to the Tobit master):

‘Not all those who wander are lost’

This is a line from a poem that appears in JRR Tolkein’s ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, the first instalment of the epic ‘Lord of the Rings’.  It describes ‘Strider’, the mysterious character who will soon become known as Aragorn, or the ‘King’ in waiting.

It describes the experience that many of us who are exploring the Christian faith and tradition for all it’s worth, perhaps perceived as heretical by some, liberal by others or even progressive by a few.  Whatever label we give it, it doesn’t really matter.  What matters is the willingness to be open and enquiring, embracing doubt and uncertainty along the way. It doesn’t mean we’re lost.

Wandering is a vital part any journey.  If we end up just focusing on whatever destination we think we’re travelling towards, we might just miss out on the incredible sights that we’re supposed to notice on the way.  It also provides us with the space to push and pull and poke and figure out and seek to understand the many mysteries we encounter.

Here’s to a life of wandering and wondering…

day 241…

Spotted this quote in the restaurant where Kay and I enjoyed lunch today.

Love the idea that mystery is the starting point of discovery. This is my experience of life. When we don’t know, we explore.

The best thing is that we may never find out…but we carry on exploring and learning and growing and knowing and so much more…

In fact the uncertainty of the destination of that exploration doesn’t stop us from searching.

I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that faith is about certainty. In some ways it is (the certainty of God’s love for his whole creation, for example), but in others it isn’t. Faith by definition means trusting in something you can’t be sure about…I think.

Enough late evening reflection…big day tomorrow. First day at new school/place of work…

day 233…

day 4: final day of the festival.  So much taken in, so much to talk about.

Great times with friends and family and new friends and strangers and inspirers…

My spiritual life has been a bit all over the place recently.  Not what I believe…but how I express that…how I get into the rhythm of life again that I know I need.

I guess this photo symbolises a bit of a rainbow moment for me.  The storm may be passing.  Something new might be awakening.  More rain might be on the way…but for now…the rainbow is enough…

Thank you all involved…

day 219…

The morning after the two weeks before…

I don’t know if you have watched much of the Olympics.  Being teachers our days have pretty much been full of watching incredible human beings achieving many truly astonishing things.  Whether it be the big stars or the lesser known – one begins to understand the huge potential that all humans have.  With the Paralympics not far away we’ll see even more incredible things before too long.

Being British my highlights do revolve around the many wonderful moments our Olympians achieved.  You know I love cycling – the heroes of the velodrome and the stunning Bradley Wiggins rate amongst the best.  But it wasn’t just guys and girls on two wheels that astounded me.  Seeing all of our athletes give everything is something I won’t soon forget (at least not until Rio in 4 years!).  I’m also immensely proud that our country appears to have put on a rather successful games. This comes from someone who hasn’t got a nationalistic bone in his body…so I guess must be high praise indeed!

Another feature of this games was the ability through twitter and FB to see how those competing were responding to their own experience of the games.  We saw the nerves, the sheer exuberance of success, and the fear and reality of failure. FB also gave us the ability to enjoy the events as  a community – my friends comments all the way through the games often become the place to find out the latest news.  I was almost tempted to join the twitteratti myself…still pondering whether to do so or not…

So…to choose a defining moment that screams out to me of what this games tells us about modern Britain?  A Somali refugee achieving his Olympic goal cheered on by his adoptive country.   Those of you who read this from outside the UK saw something of who we are today in our opening ceremony.  We are a complex, weird bunch of people.  We often get things wrong, we often pull ourselves apart.  We tend towards delight in the failure of others.  But we’re also a country with a fine tradition of welcoming in those from other lands who have nowhere to go.  We stand up for what we think is right…even if that means standing alone.  This is a country where anyone deserves the chance to achieve their potential.

Here it is, then.  The sheer bewilderment of success, the realisation that it has actually happened, potential fulfilled. We were all with you Mohamed Farah.

Well done Mo.  Well done.

Well done everyone…whether you won a medal or not.  Thank you for giving me more faith in my fellow human beings.  And giving us all two weeks of bliss.

day 212…

I’ve always been a bit of a biking fan, although not always consistent at getting out and actually doing it. I’ve set myself the goal this summer of improving my fitness, so after being inspired by our Tour de France and Olympic heroes thought I might as well do it on my lovely bike.

For the biking geeks out there, I ride a lovely hybrid – a Gary Fisher 2008 Kaitai 24 speed to be precise. It’s a lovely, smooth ride, especially with road tyres on.

Gradually getting fitter…conquered a hilly 10.4 miles today to add to three 9+ milers last week – all in around 45-48 minutes.

day 204…

Sephi got her hands on an Olympic torch yesterday after having her first proper haircut.  She saw the torch relay going through Exeter a couple of months ago, so I think she knows what it is!

Everything kicked off with a spectacular opening ceremony…for the second time in about a week I felt proud to be British…not something that frequently happens.  Wiggins’ success in Paris on Sunday and then a beautiful depiction of what it means to be part of this weird old country in the 21st century.

I wonder what the rest of the world thought…?

day 198…

Not my picture today, but the best one for what I wanted to highlight today.

I’m not a diehard cycling fan.  I haven’t got a lycra bodysuit.  But for some reason the Tour de France hooks me in a way few other events do.  Despite the dark days of doping, I still think it’s one of the greatest human physical achievements around.

So…’chapeau’ Mssr Bradley Wiggins.  And Mssr Christopher Froome.  And Mssr Mark Cavendish.  Legendary performances that makes me willing to confess to a certain level of patriotism.  Very rare for me.

Now…where is that lycra…?

(p.s. the image links to a good article on cycling safety in the UK via the Guardian)

day 178…

My bookmark at the moment…

How’s your ride?

Must say, I’m feeling very reflective at the moment – a (short) chapter of my life is closing, another due to open. Also feeling the need for a little space to collect myself again.

The introvert part of my finally balanced ‘id’ is winning over…navel gazing commences hereafter!

day 48…

Friday was a very special day…with many months of planning.  Mum and Dad threw a huge party celebrating almost 40 years of marriage, their joint 60th birthdays (although they’re about two years out on that!) and their retirement…

Wonderful to see such a huge bunch of people celebrating with us…

But we were celebrating wonderful people…for so many reasons…

Thanks, Mum and Dad for being…well…Mum and Dad.

You’re the best.