Birthday Greetings

They shouldn’t really make much of a difference but they do. Like a pair of black mountains arising sharply from the plains of a calendar the two birthdays beckon us forward. They came into view as early as September and it seemed so soon after scaling and descending the peak of July 1st.

Our feet were heavy as we trudged towards them. On occasions there were distractions that turned our eyes elsewhere but mountains such as these never quite lose their imprint on the canvas. At the least they are dark, almost formless silhouettes, while at the most they fill our vision and touch the skies above, so that all hopes of conquest turn to water and quickly trickle through limp fingers that make no offer of resistance.

It’s all so real again. Back to the same film, the familiar bland scenery and the same old cast of loss, futility and despair. Perhaps it shouldn’t be like this; the speaker from the platform ought to have the decency to make good the words he speaks. But he never said anything about putting a bomb to the cast. Even a deluded pantheist recently informed me that grief was still grief whatever the trappings.

Notwithstanding the righteous urge to shove a red hot poker up her bottom, I quickly acknowledged the truth of this and pondered on the implications. To be with Jesus really is better by far and the girls are in a better situation than the rest of the family. I would trade places anyday if it didn’t mean having to trade the grief as well.

The real problem is that promises and guarantees are, after all, only what they proclaim themselves to be. Something in the future cannot fully help the present because it has not yet been realised. True satisfaction lies in the realisation of the promise, not the promise itself.

And so it all still sucks. It feels like being fully kitted out with brand new walking gear only to realise the left boot is missing. I’m exceptionally pleased about the gear and the right boot and I can’t thank you Jesus enough for the cross and what it has achieved but I still can’t walk as well as I’d like without the left boot.

Doesn’t mean I’m not going to climb the mountains, nor descend into the plains again but oh boy the legs are weary and the foot is sore. Just to be able to say ‘happy twenty-first birthday Claire’ and ‘happy eighteenth Jen’, just to share in your special days again is all that I seem to care about right now.

Nothing else seems to matter … until images of the One who shines so bright and radiates his presence until he becomes the chief of mountains. It’s always this way, whenever darkness becomes too dark, he appears, because he is faithful he comes and shadows creep away until next time. And that’s just how it is. Happy birthday girls, October 1st and 12th.

30th September 2008

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