Swallow or Red Arrow – Which One Are You?

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Consistently do things at the same time everyday and find yourself a new person. Ann Voskamp

I’m just going to put it out there; I don’t like the term ‘networking’, I don’t! Although I appreciate the need for it in business and commerce, it just speaks of fast and shallow and temporary and a self-filled motive for ‘connecting’ with other human beings. The older I get (smile) the more I appreciate the slow cooked kind of life; the deeply seasoned souls that linger for longer.

I like journey and community and long heart filled conversations that take you past the comfort zone and into that, as C.S Lewis said so well, “what! You too? I thought no one but myself”

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”” C. S. Lewis

Before we left the Lincolnshire show ground recently after an amazing 5 days at the ONE Event I was watching two spectacular displays in the sky; the Red Arrows practicing their routines and a group of swifts gathering before they began their travels back to Africa. As I watched, took photographs and pointed out each spectacular move to my children I was challenged as to which one of those sky dwellers I’d rather be.

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You see, the Red Arrows are fast and noisy and leave cool colourful marks in the sky; they are world-renowned for their displays of precision and excellence and are guaranteed to wow any crowd.  But the things is, they are pretty temporary sky inhabitants, they only travel as far as the eye can see (what would be the point of flying where the crowd couldn’t see you?) and they are mechanical creations flown by men. Once the pilot steps out they are mere metal eye candy for the aircraft enthusiast.

Swifts and swallows take to the sky with grace and dignity; they gather and dance in loops in the skies above our heads throughout the summer and are a common sight in barns across the British countryside.  Swallows inherently know how to take to the skies; they know how to travel together, how to gather before they take the long journey, they have patterns and rhythms of behaviour that mark their lives. They fly beyond our sight and their journey takes them beyond our shores for a season, but we know they will  be back. That speaks to me of beauty and integrity.

We can so often mistake rhythm and routine as mundane, but life on repeat goes deep. I want to pursue a depth of living and loving that goes far beyond the motives of personal appearance and public status; I want to truly say ‘it is well with my soul’.

Life on repeat goes deep

I recently read Emily Bronte’s final words which her sister published as a poem; the opening line is ‘no coward soul is mine’ and it hit me hard. It hit me because on her death-bed she could confidently declare that even to the core of her very soul she was no coward, there was no fear – but that takes work right?

If I’m spending more time on my public appearance, my social status and ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ my life will only be skin deep; but it’s the moments and seasons in the fringe hours, the quiet corners of prayer, the reading and writing and negative thought fighting, that builds my spirit, ignites my soul and radiates from within; that’s what the world will see, Jesus.

Salt doesn’t have to work to bring taste, light doesn’t have to fight to shine in the darkness, it just does because it’s who it is.

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. Matt 5:13 – 16 (MSG)

I want to take to the heights in the midst of community; I want to move in the seasons of God, ordained by Him. I want rhythm and patterns that deepen my years, strengthen my soul and bring light and meaning to the world.

I want to be a swallow, not a red arrow!

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