You've got to be ready for the opportunities - I think that in moments like these, I'm being trained to know what it feels like to keep walking on in the darkness. I wondered where the light was, but really I've kept on blowing out my own candle instead of kindling it from the fire that never goes out, that fire that reassures me and has loved me before I was born. That fire of God's love.
My love for God comes in fits and starts, and as I get to know myself better through the ups and downs of daily living, through reflecting on past events, questions about where do I go from here - I uncover 'layers of atheism', as Gerard Hughes, author of 'God of Surprises' puts it. For all the platitudes I've expressed, for all the seeming piety that people associate me with (I would be the first to admit that I'm sinful and broken in one million different ways), there are deep parts of me that cannot let go, cannot trust, cannot surrender, cannot believe. Yet.
Because even as another layer is revealed, I sense Him there. I sense my own hardness of heart, my insistence that things SHOULD be a certain way, I OUGHT to be someplace. Anywhere but in the here and now - and the dread of floating along, drifting along, yes, they reflect a certain ambition and drive, but they also show a distinct lack of trust, and a whole lot of pride. Pride that my plans, hopes, dreams are the best and they are the blueprint by which God should abide. Don't I know myself best? Won't He want the best for me too?
And despite previous experiences of me begging Him, 'please rubber stamp my plans' - and that not too long ago .... I persist. It's futile. I know. Writing's on the wall, but I'm trying to rationalise those squiggles as reading something entirely different - maybe if you tilt your head sideways and squint a little, it reads something else. It reads 'I don't need to change the way I do things, or think, or behave, or carry on'. That's what I would like to think. But the truth ... the truth is that, I have a long way to go.
One of the secrets of growing older is learning how to reflect fruitfully on the past. There are many ways of reflecting, one with increasing bitterness and regret at missed opportunities. The other is to think back of what went wrong and look at what caused it and how to fix it.