Monday’s Meditation: “The Way We Were” by Nicole Conner
This post by my dear friend Nicole Conner comes out of her reflection upon her own journey and her own life.
Nicole is an introverted mugwump, who finds great joy in reading history books of all sorts, ruminating on spiritual matters, walking in places that are not crowded by homo sapiens, digging mysterious plants into her garden, sampling a little too much red wine and doing her tiny part in making the world a kinder place. Born in Hamburg, Germany, to parents deeply affected by the horrors of WW2 and raised in apartheid South Africa, Nicole’s upbringing has given her a love for “the other” that has seen her become a respected and compassionate voice for justice and human rights. She holds a Bachelor of Theology and Master in History. Her career path includes a 14 year stint as Associate Pastor in a large church in Melbourne, Australia. Nowadays she spends her time on a variety of research and writing projects that she can conduct in her flannel pyjamas surrounded by her fur children.
Because its Monday’s Meditation – I thought this might be a good exercise for you to do. After you read Nicole’s reflection on her own life, why don’t you reflect upon your own journey.
Write out a timeline.
1: Get a piece of paper or your journal.
2: Write out two headings. Then and Now.
Then jot down some thoughts, beliefs, theologies, that you have or have had.
Have changed. If so why?
Has it been a positive change, has it been a shock to the system, has it bought grief?
Once you go through the fire, you can’t go back:
“When I look back over my life I realise how much I have changed in thought and theology. The journey of life is certainly never boring! And the journey in and of itself, is probably one of the main things God uses to reveal himself to us.
There was a time when I actually thought God was in sensationalism – in the goose bumps, and the atmosphere of certain songs – nowadays I see him far more clearly in the slums and the ordinary.
There was a time when I thought that the mountaintop is the right and nirvana of every Christian – nowadays I see His footprints in the muddy paths of very dark valleys.
There was a time when I thought that I had clearly mastered and understood most major doctrinal truths – nowadays I walk with a lot more contradiction as I face the fact of how little I really know.
There was a time when my god could comfortably fit into a safe box, or on a flannel board, and he would make everyone smile – nowadays I am content to simply recognise that what I worshipped was a god the way I wanted him, not the God who said his ways and thoughts are beyond mine.
There was a time when I thought triumphant victory was the reward of the strong and courageous – nowadays I feel more at home with failure, and a recognition that God is not freaked out by it either (the freaked out god belonged on my flannel board).
There was a time when I thought that suffering was a strange phenomena, now I stand at the foot of a bloody cross and wonder “what the hell was I thinking?”
There was a time when I thought God depended on my prayers, nowadays I continually pray in the face of my own helplessness.
There was a time when I looked for miracles in the supernatural and gob stopping, nowadays I realise every breath of life is a miracle and gob stopping.
There was a time when I thought that friends should be found in the community of the triumphant and all-together ones, nowadays I feel very at home with sinners, mainly because my own sinfulness stares me in the face.
There was a time when I though God had cursed the lepers in our community – nowadays I realise He is the leper that our Christian communities often curse.
Change is painful. Pain causes us to wake up to the matrix, once woken we really don’t want to go back…”