The poignancy of potential

Saturday evening to Sunday next, I’ve been keeping to a Sabbath pattern again after a (probably) stress-induced medical scare, and tasting the goodness that is time not taken, but given …

Finally made the last, sweet, sorrowful parting with Diana Wynne Jones through her final story, The Islands of Chaldea, completed seamlessly by her sister Ursula. DWJ was truly one of the greats, faithful to her gift of weaving tales that wound their way into you, and that kept to truth both merciless and merciful.

Followed this up by finally watching Inside Out — I won’t say it met my every over-blown expectation, but it’s definitely fodder for thought, a turn for the perspective, a kindle to fiery conversation (even if it’s in your own mind). Brought ever so alive 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Finished off the month of rests by finally leaping into The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (on All Hallows’ Eve!) — definitely choose the UK Bloomsbury edition illustrated by Chris Riddell — and remembering the good work of the very best “children’s books”:

Bod shrugged. ‘So?’ he said. ‘It’s only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead.’

‘Yes.’ Silas hestitated. ‘They are. And they are for the most part, done with the world. You are not. You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. You may be buried here, you may even walk. But that potential is finished.’

So easy to get bogged down by tasks at hand and forget there are so many mountains, volcanoes, deserts, islands, seas, rivers, lakes, undulating forests and sinuous jungles left to traverse; there are so many people left to befriend, and friends to plumb the depths with; there is so much potential as long as there is breath and heart, even if I don’t dare to dream quite so big right now, and don’t like to be in a plane for quite so long anymore.

Sometimes the doubt-cloud is over whether I’m already far along the adventure, or only at the tenuous beginnings — how much ‘pushing’ is there yet to be done to birth ‘the next phase’, if there is one? I don’t want to overstep, or undermine, or puff up, or self-destruct; I want all that life in Christ has to offer, and I believe it’s not a cut-and-dried picture postcard. And I’m just grateful — for all the toil and trouble I bring on myself, the speed at which the present becomes the past no longer makes for dour despair.

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