Now the journey to and from the wedding was quite epic. I was responsible for taking our youngest brother and sister to and from it. We got a little lost just finding the hotel we were staying at the night before and ended up down some country lanes which in my “townie” view were not fit for cars. They were grassed over paths really and I became very concerned about driving along them. At one point we met a horse and rider moving toward us. Thankfully the rider decided to turn round, walk down the hill and let us past. I suspect that she could tell I wasn’t a local. I really should have paid more attention to this, it was a sign of things to come.
Finally we arrived and drew breath and then got on with the celebrations. I have to say that the speeches were incredible. All moving and highly amusing. I will not recount those given by the two best men as they were without doubt 18 rating and not PG. There was a great deal of laughter and tears, so many tears. Tears of joy and tears sorrow and grief too.
As I left I noticed that most folk had arrived and were leaving by taxi, although I also heard that taxi drivers did not like coming to this spot at night, due to the drive back down. I swallowed hard at this point got in my car and began the journey back to the hotel we were staying at. I have to say it was not a pleasant journey. Things seemed to be going well and then I made a slight error and missed a turning. Sat-Nav directed me to take the next left, which I duly did. This was a big mistake. I later learned that you do not turn left at this point. Let’s just say that my car got stuck, right across the road and in my attempts to get free I burnt out my clutch and could not move. This was not a great place to break down, in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night with my youngest brother and sister with me.
It is easy to look at the world through eyes of despair and say that it is not OK, there is something rotten in life. There is of course much that is not OK. I remember just as I journeyed down to Devon hearing of the awful incident of a man being stabbed by a stranger on the motorway. Almost every day as I listen to the news I hear of troubles in the middle-east, mass shootings in America, crises in Europe, politicians caught up in scandals and celebrities and athletes bringing themselves into bad repute. I also see other troubles much closer to home. Our Joe’s grandmother Val, the mother of two of my sister’s and of course our Allen’s mother suffered a severe stroke last week and was unable to attend her daughter our Karen’s wedding the weekend after Joe’s. This has weighed heavily on my nearest and dearest. A young woman, that I had come to know, was killed last week by a driver who I understand was on drugs. I also share in the troubles of other friends and family and of course the hardships that people in congregations I serve are experiencing, emotional, mental and physical. So yes it is easy to say that nothing is OK; it is easy to fall into the Hobbesian nightmare and believe has he said “And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short” or in the words of the confession in the Book of Common Prayer that “there is no health in us”. It is easy to see the suffering in life and the wrong we do to one another. Yes we human beings do some terrible things to one another and yet on the whole what I see is goodness and in the end goodness seems to prevail. I do see an OK-Ness in life, when we choose it. When we bring it to life. This begins I believe by first of all seeing it, by baring witness to this OK-Ness, but it is more than that. I suspect that radical OK-Ness is about bringing this goodness to life, in our very lives. When we do we begin to bring that “Kin-dom of Love” to life. When we respond with kind-ness to what we see and do not pass by on the other side of the road.
As I have written many times before I truly believe that everything matters; every feeling, every thought, every word, every action and every look. I truly believe that how we look at the world really matters. And how do we look at the world? Well through our eyes.
They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul; they say that our eyes reveal who we are. That said I do not think it is our eyes alone that reveal the truth, but how we see through these very same eyes. It is how we look at one another and life itself that reveal who we are.
How we look at one another really matters. We can look at one another with compassion, or we can give one another a hard look. Think about it when someone gives us a hard look, what do we do? Well usually we either turn away in fear or we respond with hardness too. What about compassion? What happens when someone looks at us through loving eyes? Well usually we respond with compassion and our lips and eyes may even stretch to a smile. Or at least we do unless we have fallen so far into the pit of nihilistic despair that we respond to love with fear and hatred.
The eyes say it all. If you see the world through loving eyes you will see love. The next time you look at someone, let your eyes stretch to a smile. If you do the eyes of life will stretch back at you with a loving smile too.
This is where it begins. “Radical Ok-ness” begins with our eyes, with how we see the world. Yes we need to acknowledge what is wrong, but also what is right and good and we need to act appropriately. We need to do what we can, even if that is just one small thing, because that one small thing may well lead to a tidal wave of compassion that covers our whole world. We need to recognise the love present in life, the OK-Ness, despite the presence of suffering and we need to also bring that love alive, right here, right now and then we might just begin to build that “Kin-dom of Love” right here, right now.
May we look at the world through loving eyes.
...If you really want to understand what I mean, just simply listen to this clip "All will be well" by Rev Meg Barnhouse...She say's it far better than I...