Being a grumpy old man

As a child I hated the swings, they made me dizzy, they still do, all that balance, equilibrium and circular motion, the best bit was jumping off them and trying to land in beyond the safety surface and into the grass. The slide however, now that was exciting, especially after climbing around some kind of contraption, then hooking on to the bar and catapulting myself down, fast, well hopefully fast, unless it was wet, or sandy or muddy. But still the thrill of the downward slope.

Being the critical reflector type can cause me to verge into grumpy old man territory at times. I am aware of it, and it can take me into situations where ill need to apologise. but, unless its just me and I’ve just surrounded myself with like minded frustrated people, there has got to be an element of frustration we all feel in the world around us, especially for those of us who walk with people in real lives, and real situations.

Sometimes this frustration is that systems and structures carry on regardless leaving people behind. Sometimes this frustration is that people who could help people are viewing them as a project. Sometimes this frustration is that i want to be able to do more, to help more, to give more, to love people more. Sometimes the frustration is that the church isn’t listening to the voices from the margins, or even wanting to be there to hear them. Sometimes this frustration is that I cant do everything. Sometimes this frustration is that people are not free. Sometimes its that I’m not either.

Being on that downward slope is a space of reflection, of despair of frustration, of wanting something different, but not always knowing what it is, of wanting people to wake up and smell the coffee that their actually drinking at the time. I cant be the only one surely who feels this at times?

It is a slippery slope is cynicism, but the beautiful moment is that from the conversations on the slope are energy, are passion are reality.

When you’re trying to build for the future, that’s the creative period. I have always valued these low periods when you have to struggle intellectually to try and get the sense of what was going on, so you could find little pockets to work in. That’s the only way you’ll ever be part of the struggle when you climb out of the valley (Myles Horton)

What is beautiful is the collaborative climbing, the conversations of promise, the synergy of passions and desire that the past doesnt hold back the future. At the end of the slippery slope is the end of the slide, it bottoms out, and I got to get off the slope, and start walking, walking to the different places, not restricted by the edges of the slide anymore.

Maybe being a grumpy old man (or hopefully not so old) isnt so bad after all?




One comment

  1. Hi James,
    Can I be as bold as to critique your slide analogy?
    I don’t think the critical reflector is the slippery slope bit – I think the frustration is more akin to the challenging climbing frame – the battle to make sense of your surroundings, the route to where you want to get to (the slide) is neither easy nor straight forward. Sometimes you come up against others who are just hanging around somewhere, getting in the way, perhaps struggling to overcome a barrier you know how to assail. Other times you can see people further back and wonder why they’re not keeping up. Perhaps too there are some who are further along and you are a tad jealous. Others have taken a wrong turn but are ploughing on regardless.
    Eventually you will overcome the challenge of the climb, you will reach the top of the slide, and then you will experience the thrill and freedom of the descent – liberated from the challenge and frustrations.
    The thing about going down a slide that makes it so fun – you are not in control! Gravity hurls you down at speed, it is not in your efforts – the only control you have is how fast you throw yourself into it – the faster you start the better the ride, but once you’re over the edge it is out of your control.
    We need to go through the challenge, the struggle, the frustrations, and the climb to get to the top. But when we’re there we need to throw ourselves into God and delight in Him.

    Liked by 1 person

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