Which is why I’ve gone to church with Colin a couple of times now.
Don’t get too excited – I’m still full of sin and more prone to skip the church on Sunday than the pub on Saturday night. But near the end of June when Colin asked if I wanted to go, I agreed to go. I had nothing to lose. It was an interesting experience but until today I hadn’t been back as I’m still a little nervous about going on my own because I don’t know what to expect nor entirely how to behave.
Last night Colin sent a text asking if I wanted to go today and I agreed. It was very nice, and although the focus of the sermon was on how to pray, there was also a lot about making the important things in life a priority that I found very interesting. On the way home, Colin and I talked about how although it is good to be flexible in life, to have the ability to "go with the flow", it is still very useful and worthwhile to have goals and a general direction to head in. Otherwise you just float through life completely unmoored.
I agree that having some sort of vision in life, some sort of goal, is important. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and of belonging. However, I do think if you try to achieve that by swimming against the current, you will be too exhausted to enjoy it once you get there.
I’ve been just going where the tide has been going for a long time now. It’s served me well, but I am getting the sense that I may be missing out on the something more that may (or may not) be out there. I’m not going to stop going where life is taking me… I just think I need to start doing it with my head up and my eyes on the horizon a wee bit more, instead of with my eyes down and focused on my own navel. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to trust that I will end up where I need to be. Like today.
After church, Colin and I went back to Wimbledon for lunch. I took the train back to Fulham with the intention of going back to the Brompton Cemetary to take more photos. Now, bear with me here for a few moments: this is going to be banal but for a reason. I stopped in the drugstore… wandered back out… into a clothing store… back out (empty-handed both times)… decided against the cemetary because my bag was heavy and I wanted to change my hoodie (I spilled coffee on myself earlier)… I stopped at the bank machine because I decided I wanted houmous but didn’t want to use my card to pay… went into M&S to buy the houmous… decided that I really do need to stop dressing like a bum at work and maybe there would be something in the charity shops along North End Road so wandered down that way… looked in some windows but didn’t go in… decided that maybe I wasn’t really in the mood so I would just cross at the next pedestrian crossing and head back… when I heard the most awful noises: Squealing tires, a time-stopping thud, and a heart-breaking scream.
Like so many others, I just stopped, hands over my mouth and tried to process what had just happened. I’m thankful that I couldn’t see the person who had been hit. Two children were standing partway through the crossing and I herded them back to the crosswalk (opposite of the action) as their mother had ran to help (the children were a wee bit older, just shocked at what had happened and therefore standing in the street). The woman who had been driving got out of the car and around to where the injured person was. I couldn’t see what was going on… but people started to get angry. I still don’t know why, but there was a lot of shouting, and then pushing, and then a fist fight. Meanwhile, someone was on the ground, broken and crying.
There wasn’t anything I could do. I didn’t want to stay and stare. I didn’t want to be in the way. I didn’t want to watch a group of people turn into a pack of animals. So I started walking home. And I started thinking.
How random was it that I was there? How fortunate that I wasn’t there 9 seconds earlier, as the accident happened when I was less than 2 feet from crossing that same road? How is it that my day now seems steered so that I would be there at that moment to witness what happened? But why?
In thinking about it now, I suppose I needed to be reminded that plans are all fine and well, but that plans change. Sometimes drastically. And I’m not trying to suggest that God (or fate, or… whatever) caused an accident to happen so that I would think about certain things in a certain way. But I do think that it was important for me that I was there. Because now I feel very grateful that I have been so fortunate. I’m grateful that I could walk home from that and sit here and share this story. I’m grateful that it isn’t my life that was drastically changed today. I’m grateful that even if I don’t always have a plan in mind, somehow I’ve been fortunate enough to always end up where I need to be.