On British holiday weather and facing the elements. (Some of this might get a bit lost in translation across the pond. But since there are ‘an extraordinary mix of atmospheric conditions battling it out‘ in the UK we’re always kept guessing. Oh, and we still don’t have air con. I know.)
As a child, I would go on holiday with my family on the British canals, puttering along in a narrowboat. But, being Britain, a lot of this time was spent hunkered down against the rain. We had wet rain, damp rain, driving rain, grey rain, horizontal rain, rain with thunder, rain that you couldn’t see but soaked you through, rain, rain, rain. The ducks loved it.
But we didn’t so much. So we would ‘batten down the hatches’. Often it would be my dad at the helm, wrapped from head to toe in waterproofs, wellies, sou’wester, while mum and I huddled inside staring out of the tiny drip-smeared windows seeing only grey, and water on water.
We were dry, for sure, but not living the al fresco dream we’d hoped for.
Fear is like that. We’re called to live open-heartedly, exposed to the sheer joy and exhilaration of the elements. We’re supposed to live vulnerably and courageously facing the storms and trials of what’s out there. But we hate the stress of it, and seek shelter instead.
Out there, there are other people with different agendas to ours. There are real dangers, real threats. There are perceived threats. In the midst of uncontrollable change we find our sense of identity shaken. There are ‘friends’ and enemies who openly intimidate and threaten. What do I contribute here? What can I bring? Am I still welcome? Am I safe? In the face of these elements, our hearts can tremble, retreat, and run for cover.
That’s not the wild life God wants us to live. The opposite of this closed and cautions fearful life is an open and vulnerable one. It’s one that’s conquered shame, not afraid to be seen as we really are. It’s a heart that is secure in love. It does require risk. It guarantees that we’ll be hurt, bruised and battered by the elements. But that’s the point. To live fully, we must live openly. To live freely, we must relinquish control. To live boldly we embrace suffering, treading that difficult road for the heart-meltingly beautiful view that lies all around us.