Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mountain reflections...

I love "my" mountain and will become one with it one day.

Hard slippery snow-ice or running water?

Becoming one with the mountain.
Yesterday's church service I focused on "If the Church were Christian this life would be more important than the afterlife." In that sermon I stated that in spite of "Christian tradition" Jesus' focus was not the afterlife or life after death. It is true for me that if somebody could prove beyond doubt that there was no life after death, I would still follow Jesus. I follow him because of his inner-authenticity, he just makes sense with his teachings and approach to life. I walked up "my" Mount Cargill today. It has been some weeks since I have done that. As I stood on the top I got to thinking on my sermon, as you do on the day after such a traumatic experience. I have said to my wife that when I die I want to be cremated and, if I am still living in Dunedin, my ashes scattered on Mount Cargill. In a few years then when I pass on from this human existence, my remains will be scattered on this mountain I love. (I hope they judge the wind direction properly!) My physical remains will become one with this beloved mountain. I will become part of the soil and maybe bush. As I stood there eating my apple this afternoon I thought that I suspect a similar thing happens to my "spiritual self" whatever that is. It will become one with the love that sustains the universe. That is my concept of life after death. My loving deeds, at least will become part of the ongoing ripple of love. I think "I" lose myself in the love of God, that flow of love which is a part of this existence.
Hard snow/ice or running water from melted snow?
It snowed in around Dunedin hills last week, and in spite of some sunny weather and some rain, the snow is still lying in parts of the hills. As I neared the top of the mountain it became quite risky. Where people on the weekend had walked on the snow it had become hard ice, and with that extremely slippery.  It was difficult going up the track, steps and boardwalks, but extra dangerous coming down. Sometimes I had to just inch along carefully. Beside the track there was often a flow of water, melted snow draining off the hill. I found it easier to walk in this stream than risk the compounded ice. I got to thinking that we are a bit like that. Some of us when the sufferings, disappointments and hurts of life strike us become hard hearted. We are reluctant to trust ourselves with others, we don't let people "in" and we look after ourselves. Life is a battle ground for us and we have our armour on. We are like this snow squeezed into becoming hard, slippery ice. There are others who when life's difficulties hit become all to aware of the hurts, disappointments and heartaches  of life, but they melt and somehow use their adversity to help others stay upright in life. They are like the running water, clearing a path for secure footholds. I met such people last week. I met with three people who work with prisoners being released from prison. I think each had stories of difficulty. They had to some extent become aware. They were no longer naive. They had been lied to, disappointed, frustrated, had needed to change their view of "success". They were "hardened" to some extent, by the very nature of the work they were doing and the people they were dealing with. But they had also allowed themselves to be melted. They cared for these ex-prisoners as if they were their own sons and daughters. One of them was a tough woman, been there and seen that, but still a loving mother/grandmother type person. She lovingly called her clients, "My babies" and you just knew she was doing all she could to help them.
I have known lots of people who having been through hard times themselves became like refreshing water, reaching out to others in love. Others I know after hard times became like hardened snow/ice. I tend to do that sometimes.

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