Lions that roar.

These last few weeks have been something else.

The tirade of revelation after revelation of the reality of the world we now live in feels like an assault to me. We barely catch our breath from one announcement to another. Constantly fighting to figure out what is fact, what is truth, which are ‘alternative facts’, what is rhetoric.

It would be easy to feel like we were going to be in this Twilight Zone forever. Like there is no end to the bizarre twists and turns of the actual reality TV that is playing out before us.

In an attempt to lift myself out of the mire of the news cycle and perpetual feeling of hopelessness my mum and I went to see the film ‘Lion‘.

It. Wrecked. Me.

I moved through the entire spectrum of emotion while watching the true story of a child who grew into a man, trying desperately to find his identity while trying to balance his relationships and find his truth.

It managed to pull me out of the microcosm of DC life and back into a wider and deeper perspective.

It reignited a fire in me that reminded me that this is the basic story of each human. Our basic struggle. Except there isn’t anything basic about it.

It’s messy and complicated and it hurts and it makes us laugh and it makes us sob until there’s nothing left in us.

The pursuit of the truth of who we really are when we are pulled in so many different directions. The truth of where we belong, of where home is and what home means.

I wont ruin ‘Lion’ for you. Go see it, it’s incredible and beautifully shot. Today 86% of rotten tomatoes agrees.

As I left I began thinking about all the things I identify with, or identify as. I am British, and American and Christian and left-wing and artistic and emotional and, and, and…

I began thinking about those things or people that I let speak into my life, that define who I am and how I respond to things.

I believe that each human has the imprint of the divine upon them.

In ‘The Weight of Glory’ CS Lewis said:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

To his point as we go about our every day lives we may not have the lense to see the truth of the who we all really could be.

That we may end up in the heavenly realms looking across at our neighbor that we didn’t take very much interest in and suddenly see them in the fullness that they were always intended to be.

Or maybe we’ll see ourselves in the heavenly realms in the fullness of who we were always supposed to be – finally fully free to be how we were intended.

This, for me, is a hard thing to contemplate. To think that I may have been created and loved and imagined and formed, to be someone so much more than I would dream of becoming.

CS Lewis says that we could be ‘Everlasting splendors’

My hope and prayer would be that not only one day I will become one of those ‘everlasting splendors’ but that I would also always facilitate that for others too.

That I would see in them that divine imprint that sets us apart. That I would never cause someone to slip away into the realms of ‘immortal horrors’.

The likes of which we see evidence of everywhere.

Just yesterday London was rocked by the actions of one man. In a few short minutes lives upon lives were changed and altered in a horrific way. I wonder what may have happened if someone had helped him turn away from the darkness that he so obviously was consumed by. The responsibility lies with the individual, however it can be our joy to help someone see there is another way.

How are we doing on helping each other to the right destination? How are we doing in calling out the truest and best self of those we come in contact with? What an exciting, thrilling and weighty calling we have.

For today I am deciding that instead of focusing in on those horrors that are so real to each of us, in our own ways, I will focus on the paths away from them and how best I can help clear the way.

Here are a couple of examples I saw this week to help us remember there is so much light:

Kids, ice cream and a homeless person

Muslim Community in London

 

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Never Again.

I am profoundly aware that as a human being I walk in shades of dark and light and that I will never be fully right about all my opinions and feelings. That I will make selfish decisions. Decisions that I think are for the good of others when they are actually self-serving. I get ‘facts’ wrong too. I mishear, misinterpret, become unreasonable and am not a good ambassador for the things that I hold close to my heart and deeply desire to show other people.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” – Mahatma Ghandi

Throughout my life I have spent an unusual amount of time in Holocaust memorial museums.

In 2007, a decade ago now, I stood in the DC Holocaust museum when I was visiting the States for a few months. My eyes caught a label that read ‘Hannah’ in Hebrew on one of the suitcases.

My name is Hannah. I felt my heart break and my eyes fill.

I knew then that it could have been me, or a person I loved. Then, even worse, I realized that for someone, somewhere, this kind of abomination was their reality now, today.

That someone somewhere was running from a threat so great that they may not make it. That surviving was all they could do and even that is unlikely.

As I left the museum, I said a prayer and bought a pin that read ‘Never Again’. I made a private promise to myself and to God that I would do everything I could to make that come true.

With this in mind, I can now feel the conviction of this promise tugging through my being.

As a child I was moved by ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit‘ written by Judith Kerr. Kerr takes us through her memories as a young child when her family was forced to flee, then through developing Nazi Germany. She narrates with a humor and grace that allows a small child to read without abject horror and allows an adult to be unable to deny that same horror.

I myself had a ‘lambie’, not a pink rabbit. I none-the-less understood the concept of someone stripping you of all that you love and hold dear and the pain that causes. I personally sobbed through much of the book.

It’s with a heavy heart that I begin to see a similar trend as the pre-WWII years take place on the world stage in front of us. The political elite have dutifully, and often selfishly, gone about the business of politics while the people they serve become disengaged, disenfranchised and afraid.

The game for power, while won by individuals and in many cases individuals who are good people, was being played far away from the truths of people’s lives. Out of touch and out of care.

The election of Donald Trump as US President, Brexit, the non-election of Theresa May as Prime Minister in the UK, a movement towards the right for Marine Le Pen in France and the disturbing, alleged interference of Russia in elections throughout the world are just a few indications that a shift is taking place.

A shift that should grab our attention and our prayers.

A shift that should be ominous.

Continue reading “Never Again.”