18.00 PM. Decide to doodle something out that could possibly be an entry into BBC Radio 2’s Thought for the Day competition. Have some dinner. Watch some telly.
11.16 PM. Discover the deadline for BBC Radio 2’s Thought For The Day competition is 11.59 PM.
I can do this!
11.56 PM. Realise I can’t do this. I have written the piece and have edited it down but don’t have enough time to record and send the two minute clip.
I missed the deadline.
Three separate people independently suggested I should give it a go but after mulling it over I left it too late. I’m disappointed but I also enjoyed the mad rush of throwing it all together at the last minute. It’s an idea that never would have come about if I hadn’t left it almost (and in fact actually) too late. I’m glad I managed to write it, even if not in time. So here it is for you to read now.
The other day when heading out to the shop I decided to take an apple with me. I thought it would feel so rakish, so devil may care so…Bohemian, to sashay round about town with the original portable and colourful app.
Two things struck me, A: apples taste good out in the fresh air, and B: apples taste good. The humble apple more humble even than its flashier cousin humble apple pie was a sweet and delicious accompaniment to my walk.
The only awkward part of my journey was how to deal with my apple core when at the counter. With a queue behind me I felt the pressure as they watched me juggling.
It was a hairy few seconds! But soon I was out in the sunshine again.
I think this is the kind of life Jesus invites us to through the Gospels. Where we reach out for and celebrate ordinary things, like good food. Sometimes in our consumer driven, fast paced society we can spend too much time second guessing what is round the corner. But Jesus came so that we might have life and live it abundantly. A life lived abundantly is not one where we are constantly scanning the horizon for the next big thing, it is one where we can enjoy the abundance around us in the simple things.
Life will sometimes get awkward and messy, where the simple pleasurable things that are meant to reassure and comfort us suddenly feel alien and strange, out of place and unwelcome like the apple core at the checkout. We can’t deny that the simple pleasures and delights in life can suddenly, out of nowhere, hurt us, and that the pain is felt keenly precisely because it is unexpected. And yet we also cannot deny that these pleasures and delights are…delightful.
Jesus invites us into a life lived abundantly – not blandly. Life is full of ups and downs and often it is the things closest to us that we hold dearest that will hurt and test us. But avoiding the simple honest pleasures of good company and good food and numbing ourselves with temporary, tasteless snacks and temporary, tasteless friendships – will only delay pain and deny the happiness of life’s abundant and simple pleasures.
So, when you next get the notion, step out, feel the wind on your face – and don’t forget your apple.