I have been thinking about the need we all have for someone to listen to us, and enable us to make sense of our life story. In the wonderful story of the Road to Emmaus where two depressed friends of Jesus, depressed because he has been executed, are joined by the same Jesus on the road. As he is meant to be dead they don’t recognise him, but they go on to tell him their sorry tale of failure and dejection. He reframes the whole experience for them, then they stop for a drink at a pub and a bite to eat. He breaks the bread and this familiar gesture alerts them to to his true identity.
The story recounts that their hearts burned when Jesus was with them. I have seen the power of this reframing and the way we can glimpse a deeper significance. This experience can be incandescent, igniting and definitley illuminating. It saddens me that because of the way Christianity has become intitutionalsied many people don’t get to hear the archetypal stories recounted in the bible. They are dramatic and yet at the same time beautifully ordinary.
We might not expect to meet a resurrected person everyday but we do have moments where another person, by listening deeply to us, helps us to find the deeper truth hidden in our day to day existence.
Here is a poem from ‘The Call of the Unwritten’ that touches on this very issue.
Take a long unhurried walk
with a willing other,
keep a measured silence as your four feet
trudge the miles,
honour the sparse and common space
that shrewdly shapes between you,
narrate in quietness the chronicle of your living
with all its broken light,
do not spare the brittle self in your
honestly forming story,
nor judge the wounded self that wants
to nestle in your arms,
or any of the legion selves that emerge
as you summon them,
be gentle with your broken hopes
and kind to your successes,
with respect hear the restive steps
of this re-collecting journey,
recognize the natural, animate around you
life echoing your own,
then breach the generosity of solitude
with a welcome to the wanderer,
take turns in pathway sharing, break
out your spoken story,
be heedful as a deep-barked forest
to every breaking twig,
frame each exposure
with the intentness of a lens,
stop and face each other with a
bold unwavering gaze,
see the walking miles reflected
in the pupil of the other,
and by embracing what remains,
you will have reached Emmaus.
(Emmaus: an ancient town seven miles North West of Jerusalem – Wikipedia)
Photo – Don – who came and sat between me and my friend Jim Taylor on a coffee shop street corner in Phoenix. He told us his life story ands made us realise that brokenness can lead to wisdom. He was a resurrected man.
Copyright Adrian G R Scott 2014