So, Pooch and I are sat by the river in the sun as a steam train chugs its way past on the other side. (Yes, I know, we do live in an idyllic place…).
A man stops nearby and as he unpacks his tripod and camera, I ask “Trains, birds or trees?” “Trains.” He replied gruffly. “Who takes photos of trees?”
‘Shame you just missed it, then…’ I (almost) replied…
Lots of people rush through life like a train. Going full steam ahead even when there’s a station nearby. Often running late. The equivalent of leaves on the line or the wrong kind of snow are always getting in the way. When the train can’t take the strain anymore it often leads to a derailment. And I’ve seen hundreds of those…
It’s perhaps not surprising that the most read post on this blog is about when it all gets too much. A recent article in the Church Times illustrates the nub of the issue astutely: ‘Wanting desperately to know how to improve his spiritual health and well-being, the American pastor John Ortberg asked advice of his wise spiritual director. The answer was succinct and to the point, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Ortberg jotted that down and waited for the next point, only to be told: “There is nothing else.”’
It’s worth thinking about your stations – the places where the rushing stops.
And what about trees. The above incident reminded me of a photo I took:
Not by a woodland river but in the hustle and bustle of central London, in Kensington Square, one of those lovely private gardens (although do try not to get locked in, as I did).
One fallen tree is held off the ground, supported by another.
It’s an image which is symbolic of the lives of many people. Some are fallen. Others provide support. Neither are upright.
But the lovely thing about this image is that despite those difficulties, both trees are in full leaf. Both flourishing due to the presence of the other.
You may feel you are one who is always giving others support but hopefully you have people who support you too? Such mutual support enables everyone to flourish.
As for the birds. One of Jesus’ most well-known sayings provides a helpful perspective on the things in life which can cause us to rush and fall over:
‘Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?’ (Matthew 6:26)
Indeed, you are.