Some people yearn for Big Skies, a horizon that is not closed in by trees or buildings. Not me. The terrain within me is more vast, more lonely, and more wild than anything to be found out there. If I were to attempt to map external distances onto my inner landscape, I would approximate myself to live about twelve miles from my nearest human neighbours. Some of the four other people who live in the same house as me — at such distance, not necessarily in the same direction — will understand this perfectly; for others, it will be almost intolerable at times.
This terrain is not, as some religious writers claim, a God-shaped hole, that can only be filled by him. It is an Andrew-shaped landscape, created by God and circumstance; not to be filled, whether by God — in every place, God already waits, to be noticed, welcomed, perhaps even recognised — or anything else, but to be inhabited. This inner space, of different contours and boundaries for each of us, may be inhabited in selfish or selfless ways, and, in truth, is done so both selfishly and selflessly.
In 2020 I shall inhabit it — continue to make a life there that touches other lives, for better, for worse — running and writing, not with the goal of self-improvement but simply in the hope of being alive, and so contributing something to the worlds of others. Perhaps our paths will cross. And if I appear distant, perhaps you will forgive me. And if you are a mystery to me, I shall seek to bless the mystery, and not curse it. And in the complexity of life, may we know the grace we need.