i met a truth
I just heard that there have been floods in the corner of Uganda I visited in January. Livestock, supplies, a school – these have all been destroyed by the waters. In one village, six people have died.
The images of terraced hillsides and burnt earth are still fresh in my mind from that trip, but I struggle to imagine the sorrow and fear that must have settled on so many of those remarkable people during the storms. I feel as though they are a long way off – further now because of their suffering and struggles. I’m finding it hard to think of them. It’s as if they’ve slipped out of focus.
Depth of field – a blurred background behind something sharp in the front – it looks fine in a photo, but I’m less of a fan when it comes to life itself. Strikes me that the tight focus is part of the barrage of ailments that gets in the way of faith. We get all narrowed and myopic, obsessed by the detail and captivated by the agenda that we fail to recognise the drama that unfolds around us.
Last night a few of us were talking about the things that hold us back in our faith. I got thinking about the story of the prodigal son and wondered at the different phases of the narrative that I find myself on – at times head down in a trough, at other points wanting to take the first steps home, sometimes searching for the father, sometimes feeling the embrace.
It has often been said that the story’s title works better as The Parable of the Forgiving Father than the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and there’s something about the former that trumps the latter. There’s a wider view, a greater perspective, a fuller depth of field when we think about how the father chooses to unhitch his dignity and run. Once he was heading back, all the son had to do was look up and see him coming. Had there been Skype back in the day, I suspect that all the son would have had to have done would have been to click, call and see the father’s love straining against the separation.
The choice to live eyes down, head fixed, heart bound is one that appeals to so many of us. We reframe it as ‘focus’, ‘determination’ or ‘coping’, yet none of these tags can beat a 360 view underneath a marathon sky.
Quite what this has to do with the floods in Uganda I’m not sure. In fact, I’m tempted to think that it also has little to do with the news that I’m going to be doing some interviews on Sunday with local BBC radio stations. But, in truth, I think that both will be better for my looking up and seeing the picture as fully as I possibly can.
- the death of busyness
- does charity need reinvention?
- social media, christianity and the whiff of hypocrisy (or why I get annoyed with christians on twitter and Facebook)
- Deciding Enough Is Enough
- the way the river flows