Wonderful, continued.

The Holy Spirit breathed a question into my mind this morning.

“How much do you want God’s presence? –Wait. Let’s rephrase that. Do you want God’s presence above all else?

And the answer that comes from my life is: No, I don’t. I don’t want it that much.

“Why not?”

If I take a certain tack, the question is easy to answer. But that’s the wrong tack to the wrong answer.

So I answered: I have forgotten the great story of my life.

I have gone to the lesser stories that delight for the moment. All those stories eventually end, and I’m left with that dissatisfaction and hunger for something greater. But the Great Story that God the Author is writing will never end. And my story is woven into it. Yes, God is writing my story and he is writing it perfectly.

How could I lose my delight in the Great Story, unless I had forgotten it? How could my life take on this grey cast, if I had not started thinking that the Great Story is not for me?

Spirit of God, remind me again of my story that you are writing. Truly, in the humdrum busy of life, I gradually forgot and forgot, until it became a faraway echo. Bring me back to wonder — how wonderful you are, and how wonderful is my life because you are the Author and you write a perfect Story.

“Remember not the former things,
     nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
     now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
     and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honour me,
     the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
     rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
     the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.
—Isaiah 43:18-21

In singing waters; in silent waters.

Written on 13 January 2013.

We are holidaying in Cairns.

What enchanted me upon first sight were the tall mountains overlooking the coastal lowlands. Green mountains covered in pristine, burgeoning tropical rainforest. This part of Australia is verdant green with no brown. Having lived in dry, mostly brown landscape for the last 10 years — even the southernmost portions of the nation are green mixed liberally with brown — this is a startling sight. A welcome sight.

We were riding up early in the morning to the Tully. The road up afforded the most charming view of high rainforested hills reaching up to the pure blue sky, some of their heads dreaming in fluffy white clouds.

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We went white water rafting. So much fun! The mixture of calm water and class 4 rapids was an exhilarating ride all the way down. We rafted most of the time, but often went overboard to float in the water too, letting the current carry us in the quiet stretches. In the midst of the churning, clear waters, I could imagine them singing, making a joyful noise towards God — and I felt unafraid, because God’s nature made by the Creator could not harm me. Indeed, I laughd for delight and joy in myself. The rapids are roaring with praise to God, why should I refrain?

A wonder to be drifting in the river past volcanic basalt cliffs, past banks burgeoning with riotous greenery, past grand verdant trees and epiphytes, pure pristine nature rising high above us as we ride down the waters.

I love water and doing things in and on it. Together, the rapids and I rejoiced and shouted for love to God.

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The next day we went on a cruise to snorkel off the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral grows to a maximum depth of 30m, so there was much to see from the surface. What a beautiful sight, to see corals and fish in another universe. One perceives the ocean to be a quiet world, so it was surprising to hear the sound of parrotfish eating coral. Of all things to hear in the water — the crunching munchings of fish?

Fish swam here and there, going about their daily lives, ignoring us human beings. In the slightly deeper waters, schools of tiny fish would swim around, scales flashing, all in synchrony. I found myself often swimming amidst a school — the fish swimming around me, dodging but not fleeing — yet always beyond arm’s reach. What a joy to be amidst animals, God’s creation so indifferent and unafraid!

Even one of the reef fishes approached me, studying me as if inquisitive, peering first through one eye and then the other. Eventually it swam away — but then it came back again sometime later. (Or was it a different one?) I dared not reach out in case I scared it off. But oh, it looked at me just as I looked at it, fascinated at how different we were, creatures from two separate worlds.

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The trip was blessed. I felt such a strong sense of gratitude, praise and thankfulness at all I’d experienced. Neither the bad sunburn on the tops of my thighs, nor the really bad seasickness that nearly put me off the snorkelling, could change the overwhelming thankfulness of my heart. How wonderful was God’s creation, what a privilege to partake of it! The joyful roaring waters of the rapids, the silent magnificent waters of the ocean… for ages they had all worshiped God together. And today, I join them.

{Psalm 42:7, Psalm 89:9, Isaiah 51:15}

Seen: lady in a headscarf.

There is a lady who lives in my apartment block. A white Caucasian, tall and shapely, quite striking. I see her now and again: sometimes at the tram stop, sometimes in the elevator. She wears a headscarf, and is completely covered from head to ankle; only her face, hands and feet are exposed. I saw her once in the gym, and she was also wearing a full bodysuit while working out. Her clothing is demure, but nevertheless very stylish and flattering, and always flowing and billowing around her. I saw her again at the tram stop today, and she had on the loveliest heels. She always makes a greeting, “good day”, when she gets off the lift at her floor.

This lady fascinates me. I wonder who she is, and why she is covered. Her husband? Her faith, or a tradition? She seems friendly. I would like to get to know her, somehow.

Dawn at the Shrine.

I’d wanted to do this for many months. Last Saturday I finally dragged myself out of bed before 6.00am and went to the World Was memorial down the road in time for the sunrise. All photos were taken between 6.00 – 7.15am. This is the first photoshoot for more than a year, and I’m amazed and delighted at how well the photos turned out. Waking up at that unearthly hour was totally worth it. There will be more super-early weekends to come.

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Continue reading “Dawn at the Shrine.”

Last night’s adventure.

I dreamt an adventure last night. I forgot most of it upon waking; let me try to remember.

As most of my dreams, I was not in it, but was “watching” it like a movie. Several adventurers were on a quest to find leaves of a certain plant/tree that bestowed healing or magical properties. They needed it to save something — a kingdom, or a queen, I don’t remember. It was a “it’s our only hope! you’re our only hope!” scenario. The leaves were found only in the possession of the gorilla king (or some sort of great ape), who lived across a span of water.

The adventurers set out from the green, verdant kingdom. Continue reading “Last night’s adventure.”