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Lent is proving to be interesting with the 40 Acts challenge ongoing. – The last two have involved sharing the talents we listed on day three in a practical way, and then committing to being more “green” – something which is pretty much part of my life as a norm. We are after all called to be stewards of God’s creation. But back to Saturday – sharing our talents, offering them for the use of others – so here is mine – I am an encourager, a listener, a sharer of the limelight. When I hear voices and stories from people that touch my heart, I want to give them a voice, to share that moment, to build others up. Hence since Christmas my sharing this space with some very groovy friends who have a variety of voices and experiences. Because I want more than anything to shrink back into the shadows and bring others forward. I’m good at writing, but I see in others the wisdom and spark of “something” that they may already be confident in themselves and use to bless others, or a spark they haven’t even considered in themselves – I alluded to an almost empathic skill once before, and this works both in a bad and good way. seeing the beauty in other voices and calling it out is one of the good sides of empathy.

So here I am giving a voice to a lady who may think she is no writer, but, look there it is. And although from a different Faith tradition than I am, still believes in the power of belief itself and its essential nature in nurturing the soul of man. Which is coincidentally, what her post is about. Thanks for sharing Pam 🙂

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Before Christmas I received a surprising request form thatstorygirl – would I consider writing a blog post? My instant reaction was an overwhelming urge to roll around on the floor laughing. Me…a writer? Not likely! The urge to collapse on the floor was (thankfully) stopped by the fact that I would humiliate myself in the office. Then I thought about it and suddenly realised that I actually wanted to do it, although I had no idea what to write about. Add to that the usual Christmas rush and the fact that I’m currently studying my final year in a degree and suddenly it’s the 1st February. So today I’ve finally sat down and put pen to paper or more accurately, fingers to keyboard.

Thatstorygirls blog tend to be about story, funnily enough. Quite often it’s about film or television so I thought I’d try to think of a film that had a real impact on me. I trawled through my brain trying to think of something. I thought of the Lord of the Rings with its triumph of friendship, love and teamwork, Tears of the Sun which illustrates how Humans are capable of inflicting such pain and suffering but also of putting our own lives on the line to protect others and of The Impossible – a film I didn’t want to see as I knew it would break my heart, yet I’m glad I did. The instinct to survive, to endure, to reunite with loved ones is a powerful message.

What did I choose? I chose Rise of the Guardians. Childish? Maybe. However I challenge anyone to watch, really watch the film and not find some hidden message. Santa, the Easter bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman and Jack Frost against Pitch, it’s a winning combination. (Fast forward a month and I’m finally getting back to this blog writing!)  Jack starts out not knowing that he is a guardian, he just wants to have some fun. He can’t remember his past and wonders who he is and why he has to live through all the ages alone. People can’t see him – adults complain about the ice but the kids love it! The Moon tells the other Guardians that they need Jack to beat Pitch who revels in darkness and fear and at first they’re not too impressed, especially the Easter bunny (voiced by Hugh Jackman) who doesn’t like the fact that Jack is a trickster and thinks he can’t be trusted.

Jack’s not too impressed himself when he finds out, he’s too caught up in having fun but when Pitch steals all the teeth from the Tooth Fairy, he agrees to help. Over time the Tooth fairy starts to lose her powers, the Sandman is beaten by Pitch’s nightmares and the Easter bunny (who was a man sized rabbit armed with a boomerang) shrinks to a very cute little fluffy bunny. The children stop believing in the guardians because they are too consumed by fear, dreams become nightmares, people become miserable and see no light at the end of the tunnel. It takes one brave little boy (Jamie) who refuses to stop believing and this simple act of faith and courage help him to see Jack.

Together they join the other guardians (who are now very weak) and attempt to make a stand against the darkness. Pitch is supremely confident and why shouldn’t he be? He’s won, there is only one little light of hope burning inside Jamie and how hard could it be to extinguish that? Jamie gathers some of his friends and together they face Pitch and his hoard of nightmare horses.  Darkness and fear are conquered, as Jamie puts it ‘I do believe in you, I’m just not afraid of you’.

So it’s just a kid’s movie, nothing meaningful right? Wrong. As we grow up we stop believing in the Tooth fairy, The Easter Bunny, Santa and with each belief lost our lives get a little darker, a little less fun. I love Christmas even as a non Christian. The lights, the trees, the gift giving, the thoughts of family near and far, the anticipation. Yes I know it’s commercialised but I don’t care. There is a feeling about the whole festive period which for me(as a pagan) begins with the build up to the Winter solstice and usually ends with feelings of anti- climax after the kids have opened there presents on Christmas day. The loss of belief in Santa ruined Christmas for me and for many other people I have spoken too. I know people work hard to pay for the gifts they have bought, often going into debt but having no belief in Santa makes the whole affair a lot less fun and that a central part of the message. We get so caught up in the everyday drudgery and drama of our lives that we stop having fun, lose our courage, and lose our faith. For me it doesn’t matter what you have faith in – Christian, Pagan, Buddhist, Muslim, little green men from Mars, science, yourself  – as long as it works for you and you’re not using it as an excuse to hurt other people, I’m fine with it. Life is hard, filled with uncertainty, fear, darkness but it has the potential for such joy. There can be no light without dark; you can’t appreciate joy without experiencing misery.

All it takes is a little faith.

Peace

Pam

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