Thursday, July 27, 2006

Virtual hugs and sighs

Some of the community remembering Paul today write, here, here, and here

Sighs in Memory

2 years.
Not long.
Yet so long.
Grief still real.
Pondering, wondering, wishing,
mixed feelings, if onlys, unknowns -
just as real as ever.

Time heals they say,
yes in some ways that's true,
but from many a grief I know so well
that some grief, sadness and pain remains.
I don't want it be different -
it honours the person, honours my pain,
honours the creator of life.

Words come slowly and hard;
in many ways they don't matter,
but a sense of loss has been the phrase for me today.
However, it's more being present with myself,
present with the community around the world
who grieves together on this day - especially the closest ones,
and from that place arises a deep, deep sigh.

I felt the pain of aloneness,
of the world around not knowing how to acknowledge;
people not understanding the significance,
not knowing the reality,
of people not knowing how to be present in grief
that is past but oh so present, especially on this day.

And the day draws to a close,
and I'm content within,
and I know that I am part of a community around the world,
for whom this day remains a day to remember,
the life of Paul Hughes.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sustainability or Self-Protection

Had a really helpful conversation with a good long-term friend on Friday night. This friend (Sonja, for those of you who know her) has lived in community for a number of years now and it's been fun to watch how God has taken us along similar but different paths and how lovely it is to be able to share with each other from our quite similar, yet different, contexts.

Almost out of no-where, we got to talking about the fine line between sustainability and self-protection in community. When you are in community for the long haul you need to act in ways today that are going to allow this way of life to be sustainable for the next year, 5 or 20. How easy is it though for that to slip over into self-protection - I'm going to protect myself so that I can be here tomorrow ... or more honestly, I'm not going to be honest with you, open with you, present with you, I'm going to withdraw myself and desperately protect myself, time, energy, emotions etc.

As I've thought more about it, I think it's about open or closed hearted-ness. Sustainability really is about more than yourself, in a really healthy way, it's a way of life, it feels open, it's a strong choice for the community. Self-protection, on the other hand, is closed, it's reactive (I need this), it's about closing yourself off, it's a choice away from community.
The actions we take from these places might be exactly the same but they are such different motivations and lead us towards life-giving places or death-gripping places. The choice I make today to be open, vulnerable and honest makes it easier to be open tomorrow.