Friday, 13 December 2013

Ringing in the Changes

It's the time of year when we start thinking about the end of things and new beginnings. It's also the time we think about the birth of Christ It's hard to go anywhere in Cape Town at the moment without a store radio belting out some completely inappropriate version of what was once a song written to celebrate the birth of the Son of God and has now been re-written to omit the entire point it was written in the first place and spin money for the recording "artist".

OK, so maybe I'm a bit jaded this year. About a week ago the City of Cape Town Fire Department closed down the section of building housing our business, which since my wife is a doctor effectively closed us completely. We're eight days in and our losses continue to mount up. It's the whole point of what I wrote about last time. Truth vs Fact.

The fact of it is we need to boost our income dramatically in the next few days or make some major changes. Major changes including the possibility of moving continents. Again.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem moving. I did it ten and a half years ago, and I have no problem doing it again, although I'd rather be heading to Canada than the UK again and have a completely new start, but that may come again later if everything goes right.

So this is a time for change.

A new beginning.

Rene has potentially got the opportunity to go and work in a psychiatric hospital in London, something in a discipline of medicine she's been interested in for some time - helping broken hearts and minds to heal. Anyone who knows me knows I come from a somewhat different angle on that - the spiritual angle. But the truth is healing can be somewhere in the middle. There's a lot of spiritual stuff in mental health and vice-versa. Over the years I've had several different psychiatric labels thrown at me ranging from depression to attention deficit disorder. There may be physical or emotional or spiritual causes for any of these diagnoses. Or all three.

It's possible my brain is damaged from any one of several blows to the head I took as a kid growing up: bike accidents, walking-stick hockey issues - my cousin Fiona had a vicious slap-shot that I got my head in the way of - falls from climbing frames (yes, plural), car accidents and so on. Listing them makes me wonder how I made it through to adulthood with a skull intact, never mind the brain inside it!

Then there's the emotional stuff. Death has been a companion as long as I can remember. My dad's sister in a fire, his cousin to cancer, my brother in a road accident, both my mum's parents to cancer, both my dad's to ruptures of their hearts. I was bullied - emotionally not physically, I never lost a fist-fight at school - but bruises would have healed faster than the emotional scars.

And finally the spiritual side. Any and all of the above could have a spiritual motive behind it. Robin, my brother, was almost ten. He's been gone nearly 3 times as long as he was here and I'm still haunted by the loss on a daily basis. Wounds associated with it are still raw 29 years later. That's beyond simple psychology. There's a spirit behind that kind of thing.

Jesus was someone who wandered around healing people. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was kind of the point.

Between us, Rene and I tackle the same issues from opposite sides, but with the same heart behind it. Rene uses her training in medicine and I use my teaching from Faith. Sometimes I think it's a shame we can't work on the same people at this point, but maybe that will come later.

Changes. Movement. We work with different motions in our lives and they move us according to how we let them.

Going forward is a choice, but we can make that choice. Change is inevitable. As a musician can tell you, holding a note for too long means it ceases to be music and becomes noise. The change makes the music beautiful.

But we try to action a change-halting process in our lives. We destroy the music in favour of the noise. We stop listening to the patterns and moving with the change and we become stagnant. Even the disciples were victims of that behaviour. It wasn't until the persecution began that they left Jerusalem as Jesus had told them to.

So although the changes that seem to be heading my way in the next few weeks were not my choice, I've realised I need to find a way to embrace it. Even though it's a major upheaval if we do need to follow through with the change. If God sends something our way we need to learn to embrace it and move in the path He sets before us. Taking that leap of Faith isn't always easy, but it'll always come out right eventually.

So let the changes ring. And welcome Jesus back in again this Christmas.