(Exciting Guest Post from long time listener, first time caller….. Mike)
I don’t post often but when I do…..
Being back in Rwanda has, as Amanda has well conveyed, been so good but often so painful. In the midst of this we have had to make more internal efforts to remain on top of the wave… to use a surfing metaphor (just wait, it’ll make sense…maybe). To this end, I have returned to a practise I had stored all the way in the back closet of my ever busy life and drew it out again particularly since our return to Rwanda. Whether you would call it praying, meditating, centering, contemplation, a long, deep breath of consideration to slow the heart and calm the soul… it is that.
As I come from a Catholic church background, I have often been drawn to images and icons of God and the saints. Paintings, pictures, sculptures, architecture have all held my interest in how they communicate something of the internal workings of ourselves. And towards this end I was going through images and icons I recognized from my younger days when one stood out quite significantly. It is a painting I found in the internet-o-sphere (the link to the page is on the image), referencing a well known story in the Bible of Jesus (successfully) and Peter (not-so-successfully) walking on water. Here it is:
It became my laptop’s desktop background so that every time I turned on my computer I would see it even if only briefly. Amanda came over to talk to me afternoon as I was at my computer, saw the image and asked me why I liked it. I began by describing my appreciation for the detail in the water ripples, Jesus’ countenance, the feet that stand firmly on water and waves, the hand that is reaching down and reaching out, the form of it, not an aggressive fist or weak wristed stretch but with the surety of a carpenter’s strong handshake grip. But most of all what stood out to me was the perspective. This is where the inside joke comes from. As I began to explain this to Amanda, that it was Peter under the water seeing Jesus reach for him and more it felt like it was me in Peter’s place. I paused for a moment to consider why this perspective was important to me, and we both said at the same time: “I’m drowning!.”
We burst out laughing at both coming to this conclusion at the same time. And then laughed a little harder because that’s pretty dark, but here we are laughing.
But if I am in the dark, laughing at the darkness is a pretty good position to take.