Category Archives: Healing

FAITH IN THE DARK

 

The first Blogger to Guest Post, Thank you David Welford of Ebs and Flows for setting off theme “FAITH”.  I read, re- read and struck gold each time- the painful truth about choosing to follow the Light https://nwelford.wordpress.com/

 

David

DAVID WELFORD

 

“Let me introduce myself. I live in the UK but grew up in a tiny island closer to France than England. I moved to England when I was eleven years old. I have been married to Marilyn for nearly forty years and we have five children and four grandchildren. I am the son of a preacher who spent most of his teenage years wishing that his father was anything but a preacher. Why? Because of what seemed to me like persecution: the kids at school teased me, the kids where I lived teased me and one night a group of them caught hold of me and held me against a wall while one of them punched me repeatedly in the face. I wasn’t beaten up because of what I believed but because of the faith of my father. That seemed really unfair because as a teenager faith in God wasn’t high in my list of priorities.

 

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Inside shots of bridges (and below)

 

When I was sixteen I joined the Merchant Navy as a cadet. I loved the freedom and the travel and being on ship. Dark places were in abundance in many of the ports I visited, and I am ashamed to say that I entered some of them.

 

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It was back on dry land while studying at Marine College that God took hold of me and faith entered my life. I can only describe the experience as someone turning on many lights simultaneously. Then I went back to sea! Trying to live a life that brings glory to God is very difficult anywhere these days, but it seemed virtually impossible for me while at sea. I was still a teenager and while faith remained, the challenge of keeping the light burning in the darkness was too much at that time.

 

at sea

Geestland at sea

                                                       

I was on bridge watch with the third officer on my fifth ship when the captain, who I had sailed with when my faith was fresh and exuberant, came on the bridge after drinking too many beers. This captain had a reputation for using his fists very effectively. I wasn’t sure what to do when he grabbed hold of me. He held me against the bulkhead in the chartroom, put his face into mine and snarled: “Do you still believe in God, son?” I hadn’t a clue how to reply but simply said: “Yes, sir. I do.” Guilt washed over me in waves as I was most certainly not living a Godly life. The captain looked at me and said: “Well believe in me because I am god on this ****ing ship!” Then he left the bridge.

 

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Ascension Island from the bridge of the m.v. Dunstanburgh Castle – 1977

 

Two years later I was serving as second officer on a 100,000 tonne ship carrying coal from the USA to Japan. The voyage took sixty days. From 02:00-02:30 I was alone on the bridge in the darkness while my watchman went down below for his break. I used to spend that thirty minutes outside, overwhelmed by the beauty of the heavens so visible in the dark of an ocean night. And out of the darkness came God’s voice – never judgemental, just gently reminding me He was there regardless of the life I was living at the time.

 

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m.v. Irish Wasa at sea 1975 – probably North Atlantic

                                 

Darkness comes in many forms but the darker it is the brighter the light shines when we turn towards it. I can think of many dark times in my own life including depression, a child in hospital for seven weeks with a bone infection that nearly cost him a leg, a son’s marriage breaking up, and nearly losing my wife to meningitis. But the overwhelming memories that remain are not of the darkness but of God’s presence with me whether I noticed Him at the time or not. I couldn’t live without my faith in a God who loves me so completely and so unconditionally. How else would I be here, writing these words and remembering the faithfulness of God, my Father, to me. All of it undeserved: I am not worthy. But that hasn’t stopped God from relentlessly chasing after me as he chases after all of us, passionate in His love, desperate for us to turn our faces towards Him.

 

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Surveyor (not me) deploying equipment during a survey I was responsible for between Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1989 – I put this one in because it shows the dangers of working at sea.

 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:1-4 NLT).” https://nwelford.wordpress.com/

 

“…And so it is that everywhere I go I find those little reminders from God. Reminders about Him being strong and me needing His strength, rather than anything I might muster without Him. Then there are the reminders that whatever the problem God has a solution, but that His solutions are very different to anything I might think up. And most importantly the reminder to seek God in everything, and to receive the blessings He sends our way even in the smallest and most unusual of things or events. Because if I focus on seeking God, and if I aim to see God in everything, then perhaps my ability to trust Him might just increase a little…”

GUEST POST, DAVID WELFORD https://nwelford.wordpress.com/

Thank you for a soul stirring read there; so much easier said than done, and you’ve lived a life that has not just stood the test of time, but has a real life story to illustrate what we might just step over as something to hard to do anyway! Thank you for the “Reminders from God about me needing His strength..”

I love the Sarajevo post too in David Welford’s blog, among others. They are true life raw, profound. Unsure how I came across your blog EBS and Flows. I’ll just say it was God reminding me of a beautiful Post just waiting to be read.

If you have a Guest Contribution on this Topic, or related ones, you are welcome too, and do appreciate the one we have published today, I’m sure David W. would love to hear from you…

innerdialects.

 

 

………….

 

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What waits outside your door

Who would think divine windows could be bitty old iron rust in places, or softened wood? Some time last week, passing through a busy lane on our way to a  commercial centre of the city, I saw one like this, but it had a face in it. The face of a young girl. It was too quick to take in, but there was brilliant hope in her eyes, as if she saw something beautiful out there. For one fleeting second I was envious. What did she see? What was that thing in her face? It’s what Scribes and Scholars duel for, and Kings and Priests. All our wars with each other are for this one thing: to eventually find a cure for whatever it is that is tagging our heels with its weight. This girl had it. Looking back,

abandoned ancient antique architecture

 

I imagine hers’ as a Window of heaven. They say Angels happen on us unawares. They say, never turn away a stranger, for at such times one has served angels. I’m thinking, Angels and Windows of Beautiful Happenings exist in our domain more than we even know to look at; if we look past the grease and rust, the stains of Time and littler things than our high expectations.

Who knows what beautiful thing waits as we pass Gates in our moments of commerce & trade today; hey you don’t want to miss a thing 🙂

Innerdialects.

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‘Mountains should be scared of you’

 

“….what d’you mean?” I mutter but we are in an Inner Garden where creatures talk.

 

Tim

Tim Price
Off Center & Not Even @ T&L Photos
http://www.offcenternoteven.com  

 

I don’t even like these creatures. Our home lives next to a bunch of trees and more than once we’ve had to chase war gangs of bees with smoke, repellent, yells….looking at Stings here wasn’t helping.

 

“This is a friendly wasp and she isn’t batting an eye at us…” The Gardener’s eyes crinkle with amusement.

 

What’s the point? 

 

This is a dream metaphor I do not want right now. Want to feel strong. Don’t wish to be reminded of mountains, real or otherwise.                                        “Mountains should be scared of you,” He repeats.

 

Friend Wasp nods. “You human, are more complex than every galaxy put together. If you only knew….”

 

I need her to shut up but Words open me up, petal by petal. I’ve done Time muttering at ‘Mountains’, rummaging my yard for Mustard seeds of Faith. Here, in this Garden, Little Wings shouts Nectar: 

we are Honeycombs within,

 

we could scare mountains…

 

….

 

Thank you Tim Price http://www.offcenternoteven.com for your Image and Info on Friendly Wasp. 

 

 

 

…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That Stairway inside you

 

Joepa prayed like he and God were thick as thieves, you didn’t argue if he said it was going to rain that day, or that you best stay away from the river a particular afternoon. He was an old school warrior kind of Prayer-er, he’d kneel and kneel straight. Not sitting sideways slumped in the floor, nor cross-legged, like a lotus. Then he’d go softer soft, till you had to lean in to hear the words that would arrive between pauses, as if he were listening.

 

brown and black wooden staircase

Joepa would listen when he prayed, That was new for me. I had heard other kinds – where you instructed God about the rains, exam results, menus, visits; requests for shoes, the right shade of lipstick, cricket matches; pleas for grand-aunt Mei to stop snoring, a certain relative to not visit that frequently, that kind of thing. When Joepa prayed he stood at a stairway, his eyes shut wide, sometimes he would tremble as if the replies that came down were too much for him, or even the Silences. As if his head or skin were too fragile for the intensity of those conversations that went on in the little room above JoseVilla where he had lived all his life, with his canes and hats, his books and shoes, his lovely wife and children.

 

On our many visits, Joepa would tell me little details about his life, about love and faith and trust. He hadn’t accumulated wealth or houses, because he gave them away. If someone wanted something he gave it to them – his radio, a piece of land.  “Some ask me don’t I have my own family. I tell them its what I had to do.”

So, it made sense to me – the way he prayed. He lived like he prayed. His words were lived at an altar, a glass altar here heaven and hell and everyone of us saw his reality.  He lived like he feared to ever hurt anyone. He saw others as if they were God’s own too. That’s what got to me. That’s why I believed that when he prayed he really was at a Stairway and it took him beyond the little room, beyond the nitty-gritty of asking, talking and not listening. Listening deep.

Today I sat with our youngest at home – he prays a few sentences or long ones, depending on the need. His needs aren’t exactly like yours or mine, unless you are visually challenged like him. He is intense, expectant. A few weeks ago he developed these motor/vocal tics twice, thrice a day, or more. All our check ups weren’t revealing much. Wait, Doc says. Go home. Relax. Let me know if there are changes, but right now, there are no signs to alarm us; 

back against the wall, we, I started praying, telling God what He had to do here. Three days ago, out of sheer fatigue I leaned back and refused to say another word, not at the powers that be, at medicines, at Docs, and flustered feelings;

leaned back and took a good look at Joh, our son. He’d changed. Changed from a restless young one, into a quiet careful human, watching the hours of the day – for “Tizzy”. We call his Tics “Tizzy”,

…we let go. Yesterday Joh woke up early (as he always does), ran to us with, “No more asking for healing. I’m thanking God….”

We did a happy dance small celebration, but here’s the news, Tizzy showed up just once so far. I don’t know how to say this without sounding over optimistic. For some reason the pressure is off. Tizzy or no, its like the floor’s changed.

If Joepa were here, he’d have understood better than us, what makes Joh pray the way he does, fearless, focused, as if there’s no veil between the spheres, as if we are a bunch of scaredy- rabbits for nothing. Papa Joe was my father- in- law, I miss him sore today. I miss how his hands trembled when he talked with his heavenly dad , there were no doubts at all between them. If there was a conversation it was about trust, about meeting each other, unconditional togetherness that placed no blame or need between that relationship to sour it,

thank you Pa.

….

 

 

 

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The Embrace of Healing.

This Post inspired by some extraordinary people

Kintsukuroi – (keen-tsoo-koo-roy) the 500 year old Japanese art of repairing smashed pottery. You’ve broken something? Fix it with gold. What a Gift in positive metaphor:

the story is told of a tea bowl that was a particular favourite of 15th century military ruler, Ashikaga Yoshimasa. One day a servant accidentally dropped the bowl. In the breathless pause (Ashikaga was known for a lethal temper), one of his guests reeled off a poem restoring Yoshimasa’s spirits, ” ..instead of its diminished appeal, the bowl is now the more beautiful for being broken. Its value was in its story. Its true life began, the moment it was dropped..”  Continue reading

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My Fantastic Stalker

woman covering her face with corn leaves

Bright scarlet buds in grass, why am I staring ?

I’ve lived in fields and wave, e’en  mountain by the sea, off a river delta, an island, a town in a valley, but today I’m standing still

flower bloom blossom red purple

Today is different; 

there are things to do, promises to keep, miles to go as I sweep through lists of chores, but I’m Stalked 

by tender new leaf & bud –

Stalked by  God’s brand-new batch of new mercies 

blade of grass blur bright close up

Yeah tho’ I go thru’ the next 24 hours of work, love, laughter, sweat, tears, fears, crowds, hope, nail biting hope, 

I fear no evil; 

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography

my Divine Stalker is with me, His messengers of Love –these darling scarlet Reminders reinforce the next words: you are not alone. Read that –

You are not alone.

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I said a prayer for you, July

That you and I would find Wings, that we would fly beyond the limitations of dreams and desire. That we could finally shut our eye wide, to human frailty, and breathe, as it were not ours to play gods, nor revert to being babes of wrath,

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Vi’s pastel angel

Oh July, I prayed a prayer that you and I would leave our skin behind and fly out of cocoons we’ve refused to leave; that we would let the process hurt if it must, that we would not be suspicious of skies no matter how high it appears to the little iris in our eye

July, stretch me our Wing, this Thing on my ‘blades I’ve thought was shadows in my shoulder; fly me out 31 days every minute, flung wide with grace, reckless grace in the sapphire of heaven around us, that we might see with shut-less eyes, our Wings

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The Age of Rude ?

She stared through my face as if she never saw me –  stunned, I waited. Maybe there was a mistake. Maybe I was expecting too much, but the woman wouldn’t look at me, wouldn’t acknowledge my presence. It was as if I did not exist.

The next day we met again, this time in an auditorium. She talked to everyone else, but not even a nodding good-morning hint at me, as if I weren’t there.  These were new family friends, not even distant relatives, no histories exchanged. No I hadn’t stolen her best dress at school, no I wasn’t an artist rival, nothing. She was a mom like me, a citizen of this same earth, but she wouldn’t look at me.

Its possible she was just tired, or thought I had nothing of use to say to her, or be. Is possible she was having a bad day, is possible she was ill, is possible she didn’t like my face, or hairstyle, or work.

But the question followed me all day and night, it stood there between my mirror and me the next morning, it sat in my toothpaste and hair brush, my shoes and sandwich.

 

This morning, I looked at images from around the world images of waiting….
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What made something as beautiful as a human heart, such a refugee

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Recieve

Two Universes

touched

and diamonds turned,

from dust

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Dreams & Prayers

I build on dreams and prayers, have done it for so long, the two have become

one –  somewhere, there is a sieve, 

  filtering out the word impossible. Which was how I learnt to walk. Left to me,

I’d still be in a Walkie – chair !

 

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