Catch up: Part 1… #Goodbye.

In the end it was with sadness and excitement, mixed in equal measure, that I finally took that left turn up Stoke Hill. For three academic years Trinity College had been a place of great joy, fantastic challenges, brilliant friendships, spiritual formation, laughter, laughter, tears, laughter, Coffee, loads of chapel sessions, liturgy, laughter, tears, God, and hope.

If I am totally honest, the grief of leaving such a place, where I had developed real deep roots, was tough. I think even in the excitement of my curacy, which is brilliant, I am still grieving the loss of the familiar corridors, voices, sounds and smells. It is a loss which has taken quite a while to recognise and is quite confusing to place, especially while you’re in the magnificent after. It has felt, and that is mostly my own hang up, as though I needed to conceal or never verbally acknowledge any sense of sorrow for the place I was leaving behind in the place I was going into.

I had turned up to Trinity College a fresh-faced extroverted ordinand, eager to pour through the many texts, keen to prove myself right in my thinking. Life, and I think God through it, did not pull its punches. When the psalmist asks God to search him and know him, does he think that he is not known by God so that God would have to search him to know him? The petition, I think, is one that is requests God’s assistance in the journey of introspection from which confession, the real space of self awareness, is possible. The way everlasting is one through which mankind must be led. The leader is The Creator who knows the follower for He made them, the follower is the one who needs to be shown who they have been created to be.

For all my extroversion, especially with my fresh-faced approach to theology, I had thought some of the wicked ways within me which I knew of where all the wicked ways within me. A beer with the Doctrine lecturer helped me to understand that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, and in fact didn’t know how much I don’t know – and still don’t. A lunch with the old Testament tutor helped me to begin to appreciate Hebrew as culture and a language and set the groundwork for what’s going to be life of discovery as I look into the things that made Jesus who he is and made what he did so amazing.

Conversations with the acting principal during the interregnum which turned my eyes towards the ‘deeper currents of prayer’ that where running beneath the life of the college connecting its past its present and its future. Deep currents which begun to impact my inner life, turning me towards more focused and contemplative prayer, a strange development for an extrovert. Observing a new principal apply her own unique approach to leadership, an approach which has inspired me to think through what I would do in her shoes. So many notes taken and hopefully will be applied as I develop into the different leadership roles I sense my calling will draw me into.

A note here on the character of the new principal, there is no way to sum it up other than she loves Jesus and it is evident in her life.

Gratitude to the other faculty members and staff who were present with smiles and hellos doing very turbulent years in my away from college life. Special thanks also to the many students who were very welcoming, very kind, very patient, very loving, very affirming and very honest with their own vulnerabilities. They gave me the space to grow and ask questions and respond to all the other inputs that were flooding in.

I was sent to study theology. It feels as though God used the space to help me study me. I’m still not known to myself but I thank God that I am known to him fully. Trinity College Bristol, you are and forever will be an important part of my life. I hope over the years in some way to represent you well, and to give back at the very least a tenth of what you have given me. But for now, with my heart simply following where my body has gone, I must turn left and ascend the hill away.

Left onto Stoke Lane

The sun shone brightly,
it’s warmth tempered by a deep cooling breeze.
The days weren’t as long as they had been,
the grasses were browning from summer’s green,
And I could see, as I drove in,
that the leaves were desperately clinging to the trees,
Soon all would fall and a new thing would begin.

It had been a quiet drive,
Serene and subtle deep,
The slower speed now meant I could perceive
the acorns and conker seeds
knocking in the wheel arches.

Left onto Saville Road from Parry’s Lane,
then right onto Stoke Road down the hill,
I’m sure its here I should turn in.

There are indeed some scenes that stick
like the big rocks at the bottom of clear streams,
or words vividly spoken mid-winter dreams,
that lay claim to a past and form the present’s meaning
while conquering future schemes,

She was one of these,
The tree’s – like her veil – did peel,
her brick work sealed by the gardens (Big up Dave Snell).

Intimidating, her beauty was to me,
Shyly I walked into her open arms
and within her embrace I blinked.

Then with a blade, dipped in love she touched me
Hurting to heal, healing to teach,
teaching to give me more than I had dreamed

There are indeed some scenes that stick,
like the big rocks at the bottom of clear streams,
or words vividly spoken mid-winter dreams
that lay claim to a past and form the presents meaning
while conquering the future’s schemes.

How indeed, will I now with eyes open
Full of hope release the grip of her embrace?
Even though the grasses are green,
and the flowers pristine,
And the trees themselves in bloom,
And my real calling is to serve her groom,
How will I, without tears, this very long journey resume?

Well, I must bid these faces adieu,
Treasure the spaces and rooms,
The calories burnt and consumed,
The songs sung in and out of tune,
The comedians, The d.j’s,
and the tears shed in the old swimming pool.
As they go from present meaning to past anchor,
securing my future schemes
as I turn left one last time onto Stoke Road,
and up the hill.

The light brightly shines through the clouds,
the sun they slightly shroud in drizzles will win,
His warmth, seeping in through the slight chill
will bless the new leaves and fill the trees,
And lay claim to a past, form the present’s meaning,
and conquer the future – once a dream.

© Denis Adide 2016

PS: All mistakes are on purpose, they frustrate those who notice. Those who notice… know!!

 

https://www.trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk/blog/kingdom-living/left-onto-stoke-lane-a-poem-from-one-of-our-leavers/

Notes from the death star

 הָֽאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ

And so the curse prevailed un-curtailed.
I, for my own desires, continued in failing
maintaining that blasted work
of stitching leaves into garments
Even when dried skin sufficed to unify.
Where hands failed, I made new ones to fit,
and covered the blood that soaked them;
Where feet had come unstuck,
cracked from the toil and sweat,
I fashioned boots to hide the bones
fleshed by scars upon scars;
Where my eyes resisted my heart’s covenants
dark glasses over the spaces in the mask,
the same that covered the mind
whos banner self had turned
from usurpations of benevolence
to tyranny’s reign.

“Words I chained in Hymns
and winds to whom once in song I’d yield
rose I and tamed.”

But I hear it,
resounding like the distant echo
of a thousand drums;
a thousand shakers attached to dancer’s heels,
peering over the hills that form the surrounding horizon –
my prison of deeds.
Like the sweetness I once recalled
from the days before the banishing,
before the knowing that couldn’t be unknown;
before the seeing that couldn’t be unseen;
the blaming that couldn’t be undone;
the hiding that couldn’t by my hand be uncovered;
the betrayal to which i’m here unstuck –
like the sweetness of before it rests,
tethered to the memory deep behind
what I’ve hidden;
from the spaces that dream of beyond
bonding to the things the blasted hills deny.
Ahh it is a crying only I can hear, I think,
teased into being by the thoughts that this wind whispers

“there is still good left in him”

I hope for it’s truth
but live out the lie.
walking in the undoable denying of the third crow;
living at the end of the sixth hour,
and the death that is now known as end.

For words I failed to attend,
and actions i’d never commend,
its neither me nor pretence.

“I call out to you, again and again,
Yet you linger.”

From whence cometh my help?

© Denis Adide 2015

 

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The Railing

Genesis

1. Will you only hover over the emptiness? Will you kiss the mess and speak? Or will you hold it together in its darkness.

2. When will the night cease? The word was heard and the divide created but this darkness won’t relent. Shine brighter still in the darkness for this plain won’t break from its failure to comprehend.

3. This is not order. This is not good. This is not fruitful. This is not living with the blessed. This is neither sleep, nor rest, nor sabbath. This is the forbidden curse uncurtailed. This is the untrodden serpent but the bruised heel. This is the body you put here in the unweeded garden. This is the toil beyond the fences, the rebellion of the soil – with breath in it, the scorch, and even worse… the unending waiting.

4. Yes. I lifted the rock and struck his temple. You lifted the smoke and struck me beneath the skin. (I lifted the first fruit – the choicest of the flock and yet was still struck. Were you not my keeper also?)

5. Voice from the deep, where will you lead me? Where will you have me place my feet? Where will you have me pitch my tent? Where shall I call home? Why, when you call in the night, won’t you show me the place to which you’re headed? To which we are headed?

6. For those I have forsaken, and for those I have brought with me, show me more than just stars. My flesh is old, as old as the promise whispered in the darkness. Follow, you said. But lifetimes later… I’m still lifting my tent pegs.

7. Will you destroy the city when 1% is righteous? Will you destroy my name or leave me a remnant? If you will then why the following? Why the calling?

8. Bless what I have dismissed.

9 – 16: neither of us have had the opportunity to laugh.

… here my scriptures end…

#Adide2016

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Faith: Dancing with Donald Grump

A River Runs Through It and Other Stories (1976)

I climbed to the top of the peak. When I looked, I knew I might never again see so much of the earth so beautiful, the beautiful being something you know added to something you see, in a whole that is different from the sum of its parts. What I saw might have been just another winter scene, although an impressive one. But what I knew was that the earth underneath was alive and that by tomorrow, certainly by the day after, it would all be green again. So what I saw because of what I knew was a kind of death with the marvellous promise of less than a three-day resurrection.

 

Might be a question that primarily reflects my own experience but, did Christmas catch you at a bad time? I know with all the lights and resurgence of that Michael Bubble album on the radios; and the many Christmas jumpers, it may seem as though happiness was thrust upon everyone indiscriminately. I don’t know if, like me, there was a grump who got pummelled into dust by the relentless call to think in a celebratory way; a grump who couldn’t escape the responsibility to respond from the recesses of what he/she knew instead of how they felt.

I won’t lie, for me, the time spent putting together the lego Millenium Falcon, and the 1000 piece star wars puzzle I received for Christmas helped the grump have some space to find perspective. I am not a Christian (lol init!). I know how important this whole birth of a King stuff is, and not just in terms of when I eventually get to heaven but more importantly for the life I lead now. Yet neither of those two facts sheltered me from the true and valid emotion presented by Donald Grump, who had casually found his way to the throne room in my heart and was wiggling his bottom on the comfy this-is-how-I-feel-right-now throne.

The presence however, of Donald Grump, didn’t negate or even diminish the truths to which my life was to be ordered. Maybe it was the reading through and around the scriptures for the two Advent and Christmas eve sermons; maybe it was the look on the people I loved in whom the hype had fully set; maybe it was the reality of the temporary reign of Donald Grump. Either way, alongside the lull, there slowly grew a warmth that eventually danced in the throne room in spite of, but not to spite good old Donald.

Here was the lesson I had forgotten, was reminded of by the experience, and have found expressed in the quote from Norman Maclean.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (NRSV Heb 11:1).

OR

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” (MSG Heb 11:1)

OR

“faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses” (AMP Heb 11:1)

 

Because I believe that this child whose birthday the whole hype is about, I find myself placed among those for whom a future season of joy and happiness, and more importantly peace is guaranteed. I can rest on the truth that this guarantee is not just for what is to come, but that because of this same child what is to come is a possibility in the Now. Forgiveness means that Donald Grump is disregarded but rather embraced and renewed; loved with a patient passion; cherished into shining with happiness.

In other words, the sorrow that stood in the way of my joining the hype was as temporary as the seasons which Norman Maclean observed. It was subject to change. And the only permanent thing was the ‘ALIVE’ and ‘MAGNIFICENT’ promise of a resurrection from which there will be no death.

The warmth that danced in the throne room was always there dancing: He is the King who doesn’t need to sit on a throne to reign; whose dancing was permanent and infectiously changing all who sat on the throne into movers and shakers and spreaders of joy, and the peace that undergirds it.

The Norman Maclean book.

 

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