These wintery days
Some they make feel SAD
But not me
I feel alive
And I feel AWAKE
I Went to the Dandenongs Only About Three Years After First Intending To and Some Things I Saw There.
These were taken at The 1000 Steps. We only made it up about a third of them because I had taken Alex (new friend from work) there against her will (I mean, she drove, but…) and there was no way she was going to the top. So we went back down and drove to the observatory which is in a different part of the Dandenongs.
Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do. When Jill stopped, she found she was dreadfully thirsty. She had been lying face downward, and now she sat up. The birds had ceased singing and there was perfect silence except for one small, persistent sound, which seemed to come a good distance away. She listened carefully, and felt almost sure it was the sound of running water.
Jill got up and looked round her very carefully. There was no sign of the lion; but there were so many trees about that it might easily be quite close without her seeing it. For all she knew, there might be several lions. But her thirst was very bad now, and she plucked up her courage to go and look for that running water. She went on tip-toes, stealing cautiously from tree to tree, and stopping to peer round her at every step.
The wood was so still that it was not difficult to decide where the sound was coming from. It grew clearer every moment and, sooner than she expected, she came to an open glade and saw the stream, bright as glass, running across the turf a stone’s throw away from her. But although the sight of the water made her feel ten times thirstier than before, she didn’t rush forward and drink. She stood as still as if she had been turned into stone, and with her mouth wide open. And she had a very good reason; just on this side of the stream lay the lion.
It lay with its head raised and its two fore-paws out in front of it, like the lions in Trafalgar Square. She knew at once that it had seen her, for its eyes looked straight into hers for a moment and then turned away – as if it knew her quite well and didn’t think much of her.
‘If I run away, it’ll be after me in a moment,’ thought Jill. ‘And if I go on, I shall run straight into its mouth.’ Anyway, she couldn’t have moved if she had tried, and she couldn’t take her eyes off it. How long this lasted she could not be sure; it seemed to last for hours. And the thirst became so bad that she almost felt she would not mind being eaten by the lion if only she could be sure of getting a mouthful of water first.
‘If you’re thirsty, you may drink.’
They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff. For a second she stared here and there, wondering who had spoken. Then the voice said again, ‘If you are thirsty, come and drink,’ and of course she remembered what Scrubb had said about animals talking in that other world, and realised that it was the lion speaking. Anyway, she had seen its lips move this time, and the voice was not like a man’s. It was deeper, wilder, and stronger; a sort of heavy, golden voice. It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way.
‘Are you not thirsty?’ said the Lion.
‘I’m dying of thirst,’ said Jill.
‘Then drink,’ said the Lion.
‘May I – could I – would you mind going away while I do?’ said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realised that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
‘Will you promise not to – do anything to me, if I do come?’ said Jill.
‘I make no promise,’ said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
‘Do you eat girls?’ she said.
‘I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,’ said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
‘I daren’t come and drink,’ said Jill.
‘Then you will die of thirst,’ said the Lion.
‘Oh dear!’ said Jill, coming another step nearer. ‘I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.’
‘There is no other stream,’ said the Lion.
—The Silver Chair, C. S. Lewis
[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.
—Jeremiah 17v7-8 [AMP]
Good. Yes. Thank.
“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the beatitudes. But – often with tears in their eyes – they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the beatitudes, be posted anywhere.“
What does this mean for us right now today?
1. Blessed are the poor – or poor in spirit – who do not trust in status or riches
2. Blessed are those who mourn – who grieve over the injustice in the world
3. Blessed are the meek – who get angry but who never get aggressive
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – who seek justice
5. Blessed are the merciful – who are compassionate to everyone in need
6. Blessed are the pure in heart – who are whole-hearted in desire to do right
7. Blessed are the peacemakers – who work for peace in a world at war
8. Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness – who suffer for just causes
Words to live by. Words to change the world.
It was a wedding. Lebanese. I’d never been to anything like it before; all unrestrained dancing and clapping and stomping. We were on the dance floor, the DJ dropping the hot jams bang, bang, bang, one after another after another. As I whipped and nae nae’d and dabbed beside her (lies, I did none of those things/did my own things) having the time of my life, I also recorded her in my mind. Her cropped asymmetrical hairstyle casually swept to one side, cheekbones like you wouldn’t believe, her black dress elegant, flowing to the floor, pure joy smeared across her face in a moment that kept going on and on and felt like it might never end.
The other day while no one was home someone came and denuded our back area. I’m not pleased.
Also today without warning at 7 am our neighbour arrived to announce that they were coming to take down an asbestos wall between our properties. Apparently the property agent had a week to let us know it was happening. They didn’t. So now there is no wall between us and the neighbours. How exciting.
Last weekend was Easter, and I led a team of volunteers to have church in an arena at the tennis centre. I’m not sure exactly how many seats we had allowed for (my guess is somewhere between 2-3 thousand), but there were more people than seats so that’s always fun (cue me running around like a crazy person). But we smashed it because I have an amazing team.
And then I started a leadership development course through church on Wednesday night (participating not leading just to be clear), which will be a challenge, and while it will make me uncomfortable it’s good to be prepared to grow.
It’s always tempting to just crawl under a rock and hide.
But anyway. Hi!