[Meditation is] the detachment from the confusion all around us in order to have a richer attachment to God
ChrisGribble.comBe yourself – Everyone else is taken (Oscar Wilde)
Archive for the ‘General’ Category
I discovered a strange thing over the past weekend.
Happiness is about spending time with people. Valuing them. Listening to the person. Not judging.
This is my wife’s perspective on the weekend we spent away.
“Chris told me he was taking me away for a ‘romantic weekend’. Our room with a queen size bed. Restaurant that serves pre- dinner drinks & nibblies. Ensuites that is a mere 200 metres from our queen bed. And a view to die for once you walk 2.4 km directly uphill. (Romantic weekend conjured up a different image in my head.)”
We spent hours walking together. Talking. Listening. Sometimes not saying anything. There were no shops.
It was a happy time.
I thought that I was strong,
I thought that anything was possible,
All I needed to do,
Was to believe enough in myself,
And, it could be done.
I thought that I was in control,
I thought that I determined my future,
All I needed to do,
Was to have enough things,
And, my world was secure.
I was wrong.
I awake suddenly with a start. It is dark as death. Dark, and terribly late at night. The sky is filled with barely visible clouds whipping across the void.
I am standing on a hillside, almost a cliff, a sheer tumbling down, plummeting down to the pitch black water. I sense rather than see the saltbush and stunted shrubs that cling for dear life against the sea, churning so far below.
The air is full of the roar of the waves, grinding and casting and moaning against the rocks far beneath, bellowing and sighing, as though great Behemoth were gnawing away at the precarious handhold life has here, trying to drag it, spinning and circling, into its foaming maw.
I can smell the salt fresh of the air, the tang of it, sea spray ice-cold across my face.
Across the black sea, made velvet by height, shines the moon, huge by the horizon. It is as though she has drawn close for some oblique, esoteric reason of her own, casting her light like a highway.
There is hope, then, but mediated. If the sun were risen, how different it would be. I wrap my arms around my body, holding in my life-heat. It is still deep night, as though the sun were dead, leaving only an unreliable memory, were it not for the moon, relaying his light – reflected, lessened. A token, a remembrance, of hope then, rather than the hope itself. Just enough to see the next step by; not enough to warm me.
I have to move, to walk. I can barely see the faintest of paths, rocky, muddy, treacherous. If I slip, if I miss my footing, then I will join the rocks and be consumed by the all-devouring mouth of the sea.
But move I must. To stay here is death as well, ossifying in the despairing cold. Though I can barely see, there is just enough light to walk the next step of the path, hesitantly and with painful delicacy, gripping onto plants, as they loom out of the night, revealing their branches against the dim sky.
As I walk, following the dim path carefully, painstakingly, along the cliff edge, I have a subtle sense that, though I can see no-one through the black, and hear no-one past the inexorable crash and roar of the sea, I am not alone. Someone has walked this path before. And the faintest echo of laughter, the scent of the best wine kept for last, a fragment of sun-warmed dust seems to brush against my skin. The faintest of hopes, when hope seems lost.
Alister Pate (Pate 2011, 10)
A constant gaze inward,
Makes it very hard to see,
That my Heavenly Father,
Plans the best for me.
Prides constant pull,
Seeks to draw attention to me,
I forget my Fathers gaze,
And his love I fail to see.
Lightness is calling loudly,
It longs to set me free,
If only I open my eyes,
Becoming all he wants me to be.
My son Toby plays Rugby Union. He loves his footy. He is fanatical about his sport and Rugby at the moment is the top of his list. He sleeps with his rugby ball. He lives for Friday night training and the Saturday game.
In his competition Toby is always the smallest guy on the field. I estimate that some of the players in the other teams would be almost double his weight and half his height again. Toby’s position is hooker. This means that he is always in the midst of the action.
Every week I watch him get punished by the opposition. He is small enough for most of the other guys to easily knock him down. Every time he gets the ball and doesn’t manage to offload he gets flattened. But, he never stops getting into the rucks, tackling, looking for the ball and loving the game.
The other week his team played a particularly competitive team. Their coach had obviously done a lot of work with them and they were big, fast and aggressive (a lot like their coach actually).
I watched as Toby got jersey slung to the ground by one of the opposition and then jumped on by another player. As he tried to get up the player started punching him.
Toby barely gave him a second glance as the other guy swung into mid air. Toby was already on his way running back the game. The opposition player was letting his team down because he had lost his focus on the main game.
In the end I am not sure who won or lost this game. I do know that our guys played with their hearts. I, like every other proud Dad that day felt my heart swell as I watched my boy play to his full potential against a bigger, faster and stronger team.
Three important lessons I have learned about teamwork after watching from my son’s footy games:
1. Keep your eye on the ball – In the words of Steven Covey, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”. When the other guy wanted to throw a punch Toby was already running to the next ruck. He was focussed on the game and wasn’t going to be distracted from the main thing.
2. What the ref says goes even though he may not be always right.
We all need to get used a few bad calls in life. The ref is human and can only view the game through his perspective. I have seen games of footy where parents have actually gone onto to the playing field to abuse the ref for a bad call. I wonder to myself what sort of lessons the players learning from the adults’ behaviour.
Any learning requires some adjustment of our prior understandings. Learn to ask the question and then get on with the task at hand.
We appreciate the feedback that we get in our Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. We are constantly looking at ways to improve. And, sometimes we get it wrong. This is true for anyone who wants to learn. We can try to justify ourselves to the person who is making the call or we can get on and learn the lesson.
3. My feedback on the game is very important to my son.
One of the most important parts of Toby’s footy game is at the end when he asks me how he went. My feedback matters to Toby. He needs me to watch him and give him advice.
This I think is the most important lesson I have learned. That going to the footy every week is one of my most valuable inputs I have into my son’s life. When he asks me, “did I run forward this week, Dad”? My affirmation is vital for Toby. He needs to know that he has done exactly what I asked and I love watching his face light up when he is told he did well.
Learning is about growth. We only understand ourselves when we others take the time to give us feedback.
You can probably tell that I am quite a proud Dad. I love the way that my son is developing and I feel a great responsibility in ensuring that he is equipped to grow into a responsible adult. I am continually learning about how to become a better parent and am looking for ways that I can grow my understanding of my children.
Rudyard Kipling says it so well in his poem, “If”,
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Failure is not something that I want to know,
It suggests that I am less than I think I am.
I want to bask in my success
Failure’s a part of my story,
I know failure is part of everyone’s journey.
I didn’t think it would be a part of mine.
But, here I am.
Living with failure,
Failure is a word that I hear again and again,
That word clatters around my head,
Will it ever stop!