Monday, 24 March 2014

Round pegs and square holes...

Its funny how time seems to slip away when you go back to your old routine. 
It feels like half a life-time ago since I first set out on my tricycle back in June. It was as though I was caught in some kind of timeless bubble back then, just me and the road, the sea, the mountains and the occassional bear. But sitting and writing this now I can't believe It has been over five months already since I walked up my parents drive, opened the door, took off my warn out boots and sighed with the relief, exhaustion and the anti-climax of arriving back home.

I have actually been writing and re-writing this post since before christmas, I keep getting to the end but by the time I get there i'm not sure if the begining still fits. The truth is my life has changed so much in the last two years and even more so in the past few months, it's difficult to find the words to explain.

Like the young hobbit Frodo Bagins I have found myself asking: "How do you pick up the pieces of an old life?" (Incert: smug grin for finally getting in a geeky Lord of the Ringsquote.) I guess the honest answer is that you can't...

Apparently Jesus said something about new wine and old wine skins? Someone else less poetic said something about round pegs and square holes. My challenge since I have been back has been working out which of my 'pegs' are round and which of my 'holes' are square. Deciding whether I should reform my round pegs or chip away at my square holes? Or if I should even be trying to fit one inside the other anymore at all?

I think it's fair to say that I think a lot, and probably far too much. But there are some questions I have thought about over and over again, and with very little resolution for far too long. As my journey this year came to an end, it became more and more clear that I needed to draw a line in the sand and answer some of these burning questions that were genrally around the theme of: "what the chuff am I doing with my life?" Now there are of course all the practical questions: "What do I do next? Where should I live? Do I want to settle down? Do I get a proper job?" Those questions were answered easily enough with a little imagination and a horse box... (More information on which I promise will follow shortly.) But the questions that have been really bugging me are slightly more on the abstract side. Which won't surprise my more regular readers. Questions of faith and identity. I have called myself a Christian for over 15 years and my faith has influenced almost all of my decisions in life, but over the last few years I have found it more and more difficult to hold together my Christian beliefs and how I feel about myself and the world. The bible teaches that humanity is fundamentally flawed and in need of a saviour... But as I look around me I'm not so convinced. Yes there are wars, and horrific injustices all around the world, there is greed, hate and selfishness. But there is also love, kindness, explosive creativity, music, laughter, family, and always someone who picks up a scruffy looking hitchhiker at the side of the road. As I have travelled I have met some truely incredible and wonderful people, and many of them haven't been Christians.

As I read the bible more and more I find myself asking: "Who is this God?" We sing songs about the animals going into the Ark "two by two" but forget to mention to our children that if the story is true it was probably the most horrific act of mass genocide ever recorded in human history... We tell people about the amazing sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross but gloss over question of why God would demand such a blood thirsty sacrifice in the first place? 

I have chatted with friends over the last few years as many of us have struggled with such questions. Some have found new ways of understanding or interpreting the bible and others new ways of expressing their faith. If I am truely honest I have found that I have lost my faith in the 'Goodness' of the God of the bible all together... 

So about the line in the sand... I don't think I will ever find the answers to satisfy my questions but I have decided it is time to let them go. To except the reality that I no longer find hope or truth in the Christian Gospel, but in the people around me. In friendships and family, in acts of kindness and creativity... 

It's not that I have given up on faith all together. I've just come to the realisation that along with most of the human population, (at least those that are honest with themselves) I really don't have a clue. I think it's natural for us to find context and meaning to our lives through faith of some kind. But for me the bible and the Christian tradition really doesn't make sense anymore.

It's a strange thing to turn your back on something you have lived by for so long but my resolution is this: To get on with life, leaving behind the anxieties and the questions of the past. To accept myself as I am. To love more and live more and to squeeze out of this life every zest of joy and happiness there is to be had... and given away... 

Oh and to convert a 3.5 ton horse box into a travelling thearte and travel the world! Did I mention that bit? Forest Gump's mama used to say "life is like a box of chocolates..." It seems like for me, life is a horsebox!

More adventures, stories and deep pondering's to follow soon... It's time to start writing again...

1 comment:

  1. Good to read you Josh, and hope to see you again this year with your horsebox!!!

    While reading I found a lot of similarities to my thoughts during a lot of talks I had with a therapist. The biggest diffirence is that you are much younger than I am. You can still do anything you want with your time is shorter...But I'm just glad I finally found more of myself and think you should be proud of yourself you already did .
    You were raised with the bible, I wasn't, but I think we have the same values in life. Christian values yes, but you can live a very Christian life without the bible, I believe.