Metamorphis

Hello friend, it’s been some time,
Since I’ve sat at your table and drank your wine.
Worldly lies, empty skies,
But only you can satisfy

Can I be somebody? Not what they want me to be?
Just a pale reflection of what you want me to be”.

From “Metamorphis” by Delirious?


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Who would attend your ideal dinner party?  Who would provide interesting conversation as the aroma of strong coffee scented the room, as wine was drained to top up people’s glasses, as individuals dabbed their dampened fingers on their plates savouring every last crumb of food and as the wee small hours beckoned?  Whose stories would you want to gather in close around the table to hear unfold?  Whose pearls of wisdom would you relish to hear?  Whose jokes or stories would leave you laughing so hard that your sides ached as you gasped for breath and were left defenceless against as tears gathered in your moist eyes?

Eight of us gathered around our table one evening this week.  Feasting on a simple selection of nice breads, red wine and grape juice, great cheeses, light salad and meat.  There was something more than symbolic in the food we shared – the breaking of bread, the pouring of wine.  There was a recognition of provision, of daily bread.  Here was plenty with no need to be gluttonous.  There was a thankfulness not just for food, but for friendships which have developed, for community, for journeying together.  There was discussion of how the future might look and how we could encourage, affirm and support one another in that.  There was little that was superficial.  There was much that was real.

I got to thinking about all the other folks who come through our door, sit around our table or chat on the phone or via email or texts.  So many people whom I know life would be all the less rich for not knowing.  All the individuals who may look like their lives are attractive, who have loads to be thankful for, but whom all have their own battles to face:  hospitalised parents; broken family communication; a loss of confidence in the very institution they have committed their life’s study and work to; financial issues; miscarriages; prisons both metaphorically and physically; relationship issues; fear of facing an uncertain future alone; a realisation that life hasn’t played out the way they might have dreamed of when they were younger; struggles with sexuality; mental illness; sleep deprivation; pressure of employer expectation, to name but a few.

Life is complicated.  We’re not meant to face it alone.  I think we were made for relationship.  That doesn’t just mean boyfriends or girlfriends or life partners, but real and lasting friendships.  Accountability, encouragement, affirmation and mutual support.  I think it means community.  I think that for me church is not a place I go on Sundays (grateful as I am for that place and the leadership there) but the wider group I belong to – scattered throughout the country, facing different situations and periodically sat in one another’s company regaling tales, sharing food, listening intently and knowing we will walk back into our ordinary lives carrying those others with us in our hearts, minds and very spirits.

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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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