Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Royal Wedding

The royal groom glanced out over the crowd. He could hardly believe that the day had finally come. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Arrayed in his best outfit, both his royalty and military prowess were evident. And yet his face shone with youthful vigour, wisdom and something

Most of his closest friends and advisers were here. And many other loyal supporters of the kingdom. It warmed his heart to see them all sitting there, decked out in their finest dress and smartly groomed. They sat there expectantly. There was some whispered chatter, but he could see they were impatient with excitement. He smiled when he looked at the smart row of trees lining the aisles in the back. His bride-to-be had insisted that they be included and he was glad they had. Everything was going to be perfect.

Well almost. The only thing which would have made it more perfect would be to see his mother sitting there beside his father; the two of them smiling on as they shared the day with him. Well that was not to be. At least the old woman who had been his nurse as a child had made it. He couldn't see her, but he knew she was in the crowd.

The young man's reverie was broken by a tap on the shoulder from his best man. The bride was on her way. There were moments left before he would see her. A hush fell over the crowd. Reluctantly, the groom turned to face forward - he had promised he would not peep, and he would keep this promise, as he would keep the others he was to make today.

He knew the moment she stepped into the room. Whether it was the excitement of the crowd, or an inner sense of his own he never knew, but she was there and his heart soared. His best man whispered in his ear, "Her dress is perfect. Simple, yet elegant. You'll love it."

The crowd stared as she glided past them, her arm resting on that of her elderly father. She almost seemed to be glowing. So this was the woman who was to become their queen. They approved wholeheartedly. It was not her beauty alone, but the honesty and surety that glowed in her eyes. Yes, she would make a good queen.

The groom caught a glimmer of white in the corner of his eye. And suddenly there she was beside him, in all her beauty and glory. He knew he was the luckiest man in the world.

"Caspian," she said, smiling at him. "My Princess," he replied, using the nickname he'd chosen, though she was soon to be queen. Ramandu stepped up beside her, holding her hand, that hand that would soon be placed in his. Drinian gave his shoulder a firm pat of support, they were ready to begin the ceremony.

Dozens of Telmarines, mice, badgers, hedgehogs, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs and dryads looked on. Their king was about to get was the day they had thought would never come. And now it was here. Narnia was to have a new queen.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Two Songs

Casting Crowns has been my favourite band for a long time. I have all of their (original - not live) CDs and was most disappointed when they came to South Africa but missed my city. Possibly my favourite CD of theirs is The Altar and the Door, though honestly, it is hard to choose.

I was thinking about yesterday's post, and realised that I am in the position described by their song "Somewhere in the Middle". For copyright purposes I shan't quote the whole song, but below are some relevant lines:

Somewhere between who I was and who you're making me...
Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans...
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You’ll find me...

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control?

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences,
The God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle?

And it seems that that is exactly where I am. I know what I should do, but my own will is resisting it. The last two lines give the answer I need:

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You’re by my side

Loving me even on these nights when I’m caught in the middle

You can find the lyrics to the whole song here 

There's another song that's been going around in my head during this time. It's from Ocean Eyes by Owl City, whom I recently discovered. I only have this one of his CDs, but I enjoy listening to it very much. The words I keep thinking are from the last song on the CD, "Tidal Wave".

I forget the last time I felt brave
I just recall insecurity
’Cause it came down like a tidal wave
And sorrow swept over me
Then I was given grace and love
I was blind but now I can see
’Cause I found a new hope from above
And courage swept over me

It hurts just to wake up whenever you’re wearing thin
Alone on the outside, so tired of looking in
The end is uncertain and I’ve never been so afraid
But I don’t need a telescope to see that there’s hope and that makes me feel brave 

You can find the lyrics to the whole song here

There's something about music, that encourages and uplifts the soul - Casting Crowns and Owl City both have a gift for song writing - a way with language which expresses truths accurately. These two songs remind me that I'm not alone in what I'm going through. Many others go through the exact same thoughts and feelings. Even other Christians, who to all appearances are successful and prosperous musicians, go through the same kind of struggles and doubts. I'm not alone - and that makes be feel brave.

Living in the aftermath

So it's been a week. Only a week? It feels far longer. The pain is far less, I don't start crying every time I think of it. I've even been able to tell some people. Okay, email makes it easy 'cause you don't have to look them in the eyes, and you don't have to watch their awkward response. But I was able to tell at least one person in person - and it wasn't as hard as I thought.

But I think I was right about my lecturers. They don't see it the way I do. The responses I've had are encouraging - sort of. But they lack the warmth and comfort others have shown. They don't get my implication that this might be God's will for me. I should have expected it, but it makes things harder. It raises doubts. They want me to keep trying, to look harder. Or to rethink my career path completely. Now what do I do? It's confusing.

And another thing is worrying me. Sometimes I wonder if this is all just a test. If God is wanting me to give up my dream and surrender to him, and then he'll give it back to me. Like with Abraham and Isaac. And then I feel guilty for thinking like this. If the only reason I am surrendering, is in the hope of getting it back - then it's not real surrender. Besides, the slightest hope that a miracle could happen, makes it impossible for me to give it up entirely. And so I sit, clinging on to that last shred of hope. Unwilling to give it up. My stubbornness will probably cost me more pain in the end.

Besides, as the days tick by, the chance of an alternate scholarship wanes. I guess I could try again next year - but I'm not sure I can go through all the pain of rejection a second time. I'm trying to imagine alternate options - but none of them satisfy.

It hurts the most when I look ahead. No one can see the future - but I had developed a nice rosie picture of how the latter half of this year would look. I can still see it - but then I have to remind myself that it was all just a dream, and underneath the rosie dream I try to see the grim reality - but it looks cold and insipid and tasteless.

Oh how ungrateful a servant I am. I've been so blessed, and spared from so much pain. Yet I allow this one hurt to tear at me. I know I shouldn't and yet in someway it's my only comfort. It almost feels good feeling sorry for myself - wallowing in my own self pity. I know it's wrong, and I don't know what else to do, how else to feel.

Lord, please save me from myself. Show me the light. Help me to let go completely - not because it will give me the result I want, but because it will bring the result I need. Please work in my heart, transform my heart. Help me to see past my own selfishness and my own pride - to the truth that lies beyond. Help me to surrender. Break the chains of stubbornness which weigh me down. May I live no longer for my pleasure - but rather for your will. Heal the wounds and show me the better dream - the better reality which you have designed for my life.

This request I bring in the name of Jesus. My saviour and Lord. Amen.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

When a dream dies

"Living in the aftermath" was written during a time of grave dissapointment. "Seed's, death and fruit" was the expression when (against all hope) that disappointment was removed. For both posts to really make sense, you need to have read the following. Also, you probably need to know me and a bit about my circumstances. Because the first post on my blog, doesn't really make sense in the absense of this, I now present a link to the piece to which it was really the sequel:
When a dream dies