Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Thorny Question

The brambles are apppearing.
I paused to admire how well they were growing.
"Remind you of anything?" said the voice.
"Brambles?" I suggested.
"Mission" came the  swift response.
"...and my disciples have a choice.
Look carefully, what do you see?"
"Yes, but which part of the plant do you notice first?"
"The flowers!"
"Yes, that is the attractive part.
You have noticed what I wanted you to see when I designed them."

"Now think of all the potential fruit each flower can produce..."
"But flowers do not last.
Their season is short,
before they fade and fall apart."
"That's a bit unfair!!!"
"Their job is done,
it is the way creation works, remember?"
"I suppose so."

"Now look closer, 
further down the stem.
What else can you see?"
"Thorns and ouch indeed!
Brambles represent the mission in the local community. 
The people outside the church.
Each person is precious and special,
like each of those beautiful flowers,
with the potential to produce fruit in abundance."
"That is a beautiful commission!"
"...but be careful!
Before you start getting all soppy and sentimental 
about the task I have set you.
Remember that they are wounded, 
hurting people.
If you rush in foolishly you will feel pain and rejection,
as you encounter their suffering.
Reach gently,
appreciate the beauty of each person,
for they were made in my image,
and each one has much to give."

"When my followers look at the troubled world, 
do they see the potential of the people around,
or are they too afraid of the danger?
Do they choose instead to reject those outside the church,
who do not conform to their expectations
condemning them?
Preferring them to be chopped down and cast aside, 
before they have had the opportunity to reach their potential."

"What do you see?
Future fruit,
threatening thorns?"

"Are you going to work with my people,
or reject them?"

"That is a very thorny question!"

Friday, 12 June 2015

Wardrobe Crisis

A new wardrobe has arrived.
The husband is keen to define his new territory.
The wife is keen not to have the space allocated as it could restrict future plans.
"So what part is MINE!" declares the husband,
flinging wide the gates and peering inside.
The wife can already hear future conversations playing in her head
"I thought THAT part was MINE!"
" Are you telling me that you need ALL THAT SPACE!!!!?"
and is not keen to find herself committed to decisions she may later regret....
"Just put some clothes on hangers for now and we will see how they fit."
This answer does not satisfy the husband,
but he recognises that it is as good an answer as he will get right now.

A short while later
he attempts a different, more subtle approach...
"Are you having the large wardrobe or the smaller one?"
The wife concedes a little.
"I think we agreed that I would have the smaller wardrobe,  
but also put some clothes in the larger..."
He feels content.
The wife also feels content,
as she has now gained possession of both wardrobes,
with the husband's agreement,
and offers him a small hanger of comfort.
"Don't forget that there is more hanging space in the spare room...."

Monday, 8 June 2015

Best Foot Forward

 This morning I got up extra early to spend time talking through the day with my daughter. 
She was due to take an exam, 
but that was not the reason.  
Today was her final day at school as a pupil.  
I wanted to be sure that she was was prepared in her mind 
for giving the presents to those who have supported her so wonderfully 
during the last 3 years.

Present giving is quite complicated, 
but fortunately her gifts were packed in a way that they could not be forgotten.  
Small presents can get overlooked, 
lost in some small corner of a bag. 
 Cards get wedged in books 
and their delivery requires social skills that many of us take for granted, 
but are often beyond a person with autism, 
who is struggling to process a lot of other information.
Presents wrapped in shiny paper, 
that protrude out of carrier bags, 
cannot be forgotten or ignored, 
and allow others to take the initiative if required!

Alas, at 7:30 this morning I discovered that the only tape that we could locate was electrical tape!  
It added an interesting  and unique touch to the gift wrapping...

I can record that the presents were safely delivered, 
and, from my daughters account, 
were appreciated!

As the day draws to a close I sit and reflect on all the people who have supported her, 
and the students who have shared her lessons.  
Many people showed her great kindness,
and have been rewarded by her quirky view of life.
I suspect there were those who never really understood her, 
as she didn't conform to their expectations.  
Their loss.

I am grateful for all the enjoyment my daughter gained from her schooling.
However, I regret the times when the educational system seemed to be focused 
on the single goal of exam success, 
and failed to embrace the wider experiences, 
 that live on in hearts and minds, 
and do not define a person by success or failure.

Meanwhile my daughter is now starting to grasp the reality of life beyond school, 
and now the lose ends of the next stage in her life need to be tied up, 
hopefully not with electrical tape!!!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Botanical Mystery

Last week a strange unknown species appeared in the garden.
A botanical mystery, no less.

With an almost instantaneous growth spurt of several feet,
and a curious appearance that did produce speculation among the neighbours.

Achieving over a metre in heigh,
but appearing taller due to it's proximity to the boundary wall.

It had no sideways shoots,
just a strange square shaped display of red and white,
with contrasting darker detail.

The surrounding vegetations rocks and sways in the breeze,
but not my strange triffid,
which remains resolutely upright,
only allowing itself to succumb to the mildest of shakes
despite being exposed to the worst onslaught that the current unseasonal weather can produce!

Within a few days, the bloom took on a different red hue at the top of the flower.
An imaginative person declared that it was as if this section spelt out the word
"S O L D".

As we look forward to the next stage of our journey
what better advice can we have,
than to 'Consider the lilies..."