BEST DAYS

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t happened yet

MIMI SETS OUT in Waiting for the Karma Truck to bring a smile to her world and her family and friends, and willingly draws attention to others who try to do the same. I’ve smiled a lot today as these words have come back to me. For whilst I wholly understand the importance of “the present moment” and I don’t spend my life “on earth” forever wishing I was living my life already “in heaven”, I do believe that human persons have been given a great gift: faith that some of our best days haven’t happened yet, whether in this world or in whatever comes next, when we return to the nearer, fuller presence of all that sustains us now.

Comfort zone

Mimi writes “I’m off to a camp reunion” and goes on “This is me taking on something way out of my comfort zone, if you can’t tell. Nonetheless, I’m off …” Mimi’s openness and vulnerability are gifts that sustain her own personal belief that the best days haven’t happened yet; I hope she’s revelling in such times – as her many friends are hoping and praying and willing that life outside her comfort zone brings joy and blessing today, as it has done in the past.

Lightness of touch

Our growth, personal and corporate, so requires that we let go of our tight grip sometimes. My friend David Herbert asks “Where are you heading?” Leadership, even the leadership of our own personal “one man band”, requires that it’s not just leaders that are involved. We’re ALL involved in the kind of life-leadership that – with a light touch on the reins and a willingness sometimes to fall off – brings us, as Francesca Zelnick exquisitely suggests, to being able to say “Together, we trotted back to the barn.” (Jesus who, unlike the ecclesiastical and state authorities of his time, was a Master of the light touch might have said “back to the sheepfold”).

Riding life

The little pony Pablo taught me in my own boyhood riding lessons about the incomparable importance of “lightness of touch” on the reins. Heaving and pulling and pushing and jostling gets horse and rider nowhere. Reins are better employed when used to communicate suggestion – sometimes the suggestion coming from the horse, sometimes from the rider. Both need space to make some important co-operative decisions together. When I imagine riding life instead of a horse the same rules apply. Both life and I need to give each other space for suggestion and co-operative decision-making.

To Hindustan?

Rebecca Koo has fabricated a wonderful elephant procession that I’d love to see on the walls of our parish rooms. I love the “lightness of touch” in the elephants’ connection, “the call”, one to another – that energises and enables a brave leaving of the confines of the circus – and a heading out – perhaps for hitherto unknown and undreamed of joys in Hindustan?

To Bombay
A traveling circus came
They brought an intelligent elephant
And Nellie was her name
One dark night
She slipped her iron chain
And off she ran to Hindustan
And was never seen again

Ooooooooooooo…

Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump
Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And trundled back to the jungle
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump

Night by night
She danced to the circus band
When Nellie was leading the big parade
She looked so proud and grand
No more tricks
For Nellie to perform
They taught her how to take a bow
And she took the crowd by storm

But: the head of the herd was calling
Far, far away
They met one night in the silver light
On the road to Mandalay
So Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trum
Trump, trump, trump

Ooooooooooooo…

Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump
Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And trundled back to the jungle
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump

Ralph Butler and Peter Hart (1957)

Vision

Even people of deep faith (note: not necessarily religious faith) hang on tightly to some kind of limiting ‘circus’ understanding of self, community or circumstance that spoils their view of the good and the freedom that has been, and the good that will be. I’m enormously grateful to the wonderful people (and animals) in this world whose enthusiasm for life and love hold up a vision to us of “best days” … that haven’t happened yet.

2 thoughts on “BEST DAYS

  1. Love this, Simon! I will be thinking of this “lightness of touch” for a while, I can tell….thank you!

  2. Simon, what a coincidence. Today, on our way home, a John Hiatt song came on about his time working in a circus and you shared a wonderful poem about an elephant returning to where she belonged, not in a circus. I think John Hiatt did much better as singer.

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