26th December 2016
I was just sitting and being this morning.
For me that involves praying (talking and listening to God), drinking in all that’s around me and remembering to be consciously grateful. The skies today in London are gloriously clear. The light and the air are ringing in clarity and freshness.
I felt prompted to share something I wrote a while back, perhaps in 2015, that I came across in a Word doc more recently. I hope it blesses you today and going forward.
As a point of reference for those who may not know, the ‘negative spaces’ I refer to below are an artistic term. They signify the background spaces (as opposed to the subject/foreground) in a traditional method of painting; I was taught to mark out the negative spaces in a composition before painting anything else in greater detail. They are as important as the main subject, as the work and use of colour in those negative spaces can make the difference between a study and a full-blown masterpiece. Beautifully and aptly, those shapes are called “magic shapes” in artistic terminology. In the spirit of this beautiful day, I extend new hope, love and prayers to you all:
Let us live our lives in the negative spaces, let us feel and breathe in the magic that comes with the potential in the unknown. Before you reach that next milestone, that next full bodied line, exhale and inhale the in-between, the unknown, the unseen. Those character building, spiritually-refining moments which allow us to be who we are when the spotlight comes on. Don’t be afraid of the dark, step into it, step into a place of separation, walk on water, believe in the unknown. Live your faith – faith is after all believing that what is unseen and intangible is not only possible but has already been done, that it far exceeds our expectations and is not dependent or conditional on our verification of its eventual tangibility.
Almost eight years ago, I experienced the most painful and poignant Christmas of my life so far. My mother was in a hospice, where cancer had spread to her brain and mentally she was no longer fully with us. She was, as we would soon discover, in the last week of her life. I share this extremely personal note as a means to say that hope is real. Love is real. Sometimes we may become tired and weary of hearing sentiments and reading positive #quotesoftheday on Instagram, I feel you. Words do have power, but they can also bear ritual.
When I think about my reality eight Christmases ago and my reality today, they are extremely different, but there is one constant. “The passage of time can heal” is something often said, but the passage of time can also destroy, allowing for decay and deterioration is a harsh reality that we must be equally aware of. Over the years since her death, close friends and acquaintances have sometimes said to me “you are so strong” which I guess is shared with a mixture of admiration and empathy. Really, I am so blessed.
I was so blessed to have my mother’s love, which is still so real even after her physical prescence is gone. Over the last eight years I have been beyond blessed with family, friends, the love of significant others, confidantes, kind strangers and more. Matthew 5:3-4 reads in The Message translation: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter what your spiritual affiliation is, or even if you don’t have one, there is deep wisdom in those words. Where you turn and what you’re surrounded by when you’re at the end of your rope, in a place where there is a deep void in whatever capacity, will define you, it will make or break you.
I was having a conversation with a great friend the other night and she told me how a young mother who attends her classes had told her that in the midst of suffering post-natal depression, my friend’s smile had brought her hope and joy. That struck a chord with me, we really don’t know what that person sitting opposite us on the tube is going through, or even in this case, those within our direct sphere of influence. If we are attuned to those around us, a smile, a simple gesture of welcome and kindness, can be something they are grateful for that day. Please, extend that smile today with an added dimension of warmth, bear joy in your heart; you don’t know what the fruit of those small seeds will be. There is so much darkness out in our very neighbourhoods that we must be responsible for carrying light within us. It can outpour and overflow from you.
I’ll leave you with this today, said by the all-out amazing Bobbie Houston:
“May love be the last great act to shock the world”.
Love is intelligent, love is considered. Love is so much more than a feeling. Love is synonymous with respect. Love is an enactment. Love is tenacious. Love is a moment-by-moment choice. Love is in the doing as much as it is in the being.
Happy (almost) new year dear readers!
Feature image: Snapped in Monaco