“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” - Ben Okri
I moved to Dundee in the summer of 2010 already knowing a lot of people living here. Some in the congregation I was familiar with I had known since I was about 5, some had met me further down my journey of life, and there were of course the friends-to-be.
I met Jayne in this time, she was 23, had been married for 3 years, and we just clicked. Our friendship grew strong and fast particularly from the summer of 2011, so strong that September 2011 when Mum passed, she said she’d have hopped the very next train to Peterborough to be by my side and help me through it all if I had wanted. We have shared our life stories, confided in each other, laughed and cried together.
After Mum’s funeral in October I came back to Dundee and on our first get together after the funeral Jayne sat me down and giddily said she had some big news. I waited a few moments in suspense and she said, almost whispered, to me that she was pregnant - I was ecstatic. We threw our arms around each other and shed a few tears of joy, basking in the wonderful idea of this new baby appearing into this world. She admitted shortly after that she was unsure whether she should mention it so soon after Mum passing, but in all honesty I was thrilled. Relieved.
I realised that I was witnessing what is commonly referred to as the Circle of Life. Mum had lived and she died, and here was a new creation of life, right before me. I felt a hope spread through my heart that calmed the longing ache, I was just beginning to understand that it is ok for something to end, because something else always begins at the same time. It is this which initially inspired the line in my poem (posted earlier on): Yet that which we create and resolving not to hate, make the pain and the suffering more dim.
Welcome to the world Eli Daniel Duncan!
Similar reflections have come over me throughout these past few months, involving my relationships with those around me. Whilst it is not always good when a relationships ends, it is also often unavoidable. When doors like these close it can open up opportunities to evaluate your time spent with that person, the changes you have made and things you have gone through in that time - in the hope of improving yourself and other relationships you have in the future. I have been through some big changes in my relationships in the past few months, especially noticeable due to my situation and recent struggles. It is crazy that sometimes it is those which you least expect that step up to the plate - and in other cases it is the other way around. I have had to learn to live with some disappointments, a valuable life lesson for anybody, and also be the instigator myself, for my own good.
Sometimes going to someone for help and support is harder than just accepting it, but it is also so often necessary if people don’t know what you need.
As a Christian I try to remember to lean on God, though human reassurance can often have a more instant gratification and I rely on people instead of Him. On Sunday it was told that C. S. Lewis had said that by reaching out your hands to others you forget that God was there, loving you from the first. This is certainly something I am working on, and will continue to work on for the rest of my life.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified [...], for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 32:6