Today is messy. I don’t know if it’s due to Easter, or I’m tired of polishing words for clients, but I want to write without censor. Just to see what happens when I sit and simply let it flow out my fingertips.
I just arrived home from the Easter assembly at school. Where I had volunteered to be a team leader on stage as part of Mission Week. Based on the theme of Jesus being the light of the world, we played a game. My team were moths. The lights went down. And when the house lights came back up we had to do what good moths do when they see the light. Forward, back, messily banging wings and being hit off course. Yet, still, wanting to go towards the light.
There were two other teams. Cockroaches and plants. This is a junior school. So the metaphors couldn’t be too nuanced. Plants grow in the light. Cockroaches scurry to the dark. Moths bounce around trying to get to the light. The takeaway: how do you want your relationship with Jesus and God (the light) to be?
The school minister encouraged us all to be plants. The principal thanked me for my participation. And as I looked over at the (winning) plant team I thought, “wish I’d been a plant…”
Yet, back home, in front of the keyboard, when I really ought to be writing a million other words for a client website, all I can think about is moths. Fine, delicate, powder-coated insubstantial wings. Drawn towards a light that confuses them. I see so much of my Christian journey in that imagery.
Once, very, very early on, my witticisms about The Life Of Brian in an email prompted the SAP to suggest meeting up for a chat over coffee (well, chai for him). I suppose when you are faced with a seeker using Monty Python as a yardstick for getting to know Jesus, a good pastor recognises the value of early intervention. For me it was a moth day.
There we sat in a busy cafe, with the SAP using language rich with God, Bible and Jesus. Back then was the first time I had ever properly sat down with a ‘qualified’ Christian and had an adult conversation.
Here’s what I thought as I listened and internally moth-dived: Man, he’s really into this. Not sure I’d ever be that keen. Then, looking around at all the tables close by: And he doesn’t care if anyone hears (which left me feeling both impressed and with edgy images of cafe patrons with pitchforks).
I had possibly attended church twice by then and mentioned the recent sermon about Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. The SAP commented what it must have felt like for Paul and receiving that astounding level of love, grace and forgiveness.
Then, in his describing of it, and which will now always be one of my ‘burnt on the retina’ memories, the SAP’s eyes welled with tears. And there it was. My first, tiniest glimpse into the joy that Christianity has since delivered. I may not have been able to name it then, but it was the initial synapse flare that shoved into my heart: That, I thought. That’s what I’ve been seeking.
The light. Despite my envy of the plant team earlier today, moth-diving crazily into it seems to have worked for me. With the realisation that whether plant, moth or cockroach, it’s always there. Sometimes you just need a glimpse.
Even when it’s in a crowded cafe. From a SAP.