the way the river flows
Partly it’s because my legs and lungs want a break, but there are more noble reasons for stopping mid-way through my run. The pause comes when I cross the Thames on a footbridge. It’s at the mid-point of an S-shaped bend, the precise moment at which – as any four-year-old with eyes fixed with the force as they battle with pen and paper knows – things move freely. I stand there, at first facing upstream, then turning to stare down – and I think and pray about what’s gone before and what’s coming up.
Today there will be plenty of water coming towards me. It’s what would be my mother’s 68th birthday, but this post isn’t really about that. Not because the date doesn’t matter, but just because it turns out that those people who pat you on the back at funerals are partly right after all: time really does heal. [Why partly? Because some wounds are too deep, too unnatural and too unexpected to avoid long-term damage.]
Today I’ll look downstream. This week my daughter travels to Africa for the first time. She’s nine and I’m excited to be going along for the ride. It’s a long story – one that involves a remarkable family in Uganda who opened up their home to orphans twenty years ago and who went on to set up a primary school for them and others a decade later. A year or so ago the source of their funding started to dry up – call it internal politics, bad fortune or a great opportunity for others to join in the adventure. Whatever was behind it, the fact is that we’re in the privileged position to be able to join in with others to help the school get back on its feet.
And this is the point of this post: I don’t have to look downstream to know where the water comes from. I don’t have to look to the past to know that the legacy and love of others remains in force today. I don’t have to reconstruct hazy images of my mum in action to know that her influence flows with equal parts grace and force through her granddaughter.
So, happy birthday mum. We’re off to get wet.
- 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