Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Everything Speaks : Pocket Inventory : 1

Everything speaks. Everything speaks: of life, or death, or simultaneously of life and death. Everything tells us: there is a real choice to be made, with real consequences: choose life: choose what nurtures life in all its wonder and beauty: say ‘no’ to death – not literal death, for literal death is swallowed-up by life for those who choose life; but symbolic death, everything that diminishes the wonder and beauty of life.

I thought I’d do a pocket inventory, of the things I carry with me, the basics I take wherever I go, and ask: what do you speak to me?

These things are: my phone, my keys, my wallet, my watch...

My phone
Interestingly, my phone does not speak to me especially about communication: about being made able to communicate, about how we can communicate words of life or death. In part, this is because I hardly ever use my phone: I really do not like talking to someone without being able to see their face, and I don’t get on well with texting. For me, two cups of coffee (not instant!) speak volumes more about communication, conversation, connection.

I bought my phone five years ago, when we were living in Australia for three months (mid-September – mid-December 2005). Like dogs, mobile phones age seven years to every human year, so as a phone it is well-and-truly obsolete. I wonder about replacing it with a smart phone, but...

It is a ‘shell’ phone, smooth like a pebble held in my hand in my pocket; my fingers rubbing on the back, long-since wearing-away the surface colour; the top resting in my palm; ergonomic design.

Like a pebble. It speaks to me of God’s intention to use circumstances and other people to grind-down my rough edges, to make me smooth, to make me a smooth stone in God’s hand. Those months in Australia were hard ones: we had heard God speak very clearly to go there; and that call was confirmed in many different ways while we were there; but being there and asking God, “So, what now? Why have you brought us here?” God was silent, on that matter at least. As if he was saying – without words – this is not about instant, incessant communication: you are beyond mobile coverage here: to learn to live at a slower pace. It takes time, to smooth a stone. (We’re slow learners, by the way!)

God wants to smooth-off my rough edges, not simply to make me a better person, but to make me the right kind of dangerous. My rough-edges have a habit of hurting people: the wrong kind of dangerous. But a smooth stone: that reminds me of David and Goliath. Goliath stands for death: for imposition upon and exploitation of others. In bringing literal death, David stands for life: freedom. Everyone else sees an insurmountable problem: David sees an un-miss-able target. And God wants to shape me into the sort of stone with which he can show insurmountable problems to be un-miss-able targets...

When I find someone else difficult to get along with; when I face overwhelming problems; the phone in my pocket speaks to me of God’s purposes for my life in those relationships, those circumstances. It re-focuses me on God. One day I will finally need to replace my phone. But it will not be enough to have a phone for its practical purposes: it will need to hold symbolic significance for me: because everything speaks...

1 comment:

  1. Nicky Williams7:07 am

    This spoke volumes to me, thanks.
    I'd also like to apologise for the times when my rough edge may of hurt you and anyone else who I have hurt. x