Wednesday, May 8, 2013


The crew galley: a place where crew can cook for themselves.
The pros: a great meeting place where rich conversations happen and even richer food is prepared; a place of laughter, singing, whistling (that is correct) and entertaining banter.
The cons: it's noisy, you can't always find the tools or space you need; you burn your food because the oven you chose wasn't working quite right.

 I normally try to avoid the crew galley because of my glass-half-empty view, as outlined in the 'cons' above.  Also, I'm an introvert, by which I mean I get re-energized being alone and preferably in a quiet place, so times in the crew galley when there are a lot of people in a relatively small place, all talking at once can leave me feeling drained and in need of a dark room with nothing but whale noises.

I have found myself there a lot of late (the crew galley, not the room with whale sounds).  I’m sitting there now, typing this!  Alongside are a class of children making paper-mache masks.  The extraordinary thing is each visit has been enriching and fulfilling for me and, perhaps, for others with whom I've engaged.  I've had more than a few, what I think of as, God ordained meetings.

God specializes in the ordinary.  Jesus himself said that people in fine clothes belong in palaces.  In the bible, we are not lead to believe Jesus wore fine clothes.  You didn't have to go to a palace to find him.  He hung out with the ordinary, the common people – sinners, tax collectors, fishermen, and the like.  The Creator becomes the created.  The extraordinary becomes the ordinary.  Even today, Jesus will meet us in the most humble of places.  Several years ago, after the birth of our first child (ok, a little more than several years ago) Jesus met me in a very un-grand place.  We lived in a flat above a shop in a low socio-economic part of town.  We rented the property as partially furnished, or perhaps we misread and it said poorly furnished – paintings circa 1970, nick-nacks from seaside resorts, and basic kitchenware.  Someone had given us sun loungers to use as easy chairs, because the flat had none.  Its main room was located in the centre of the building, which meant no windows.  This in itself dinted my pride, but it was all we could afford having just returned from 2+ years on a Mercy Ship with no savings, moderate-income jobs, and a new baby in tow.  I was still reeling from a touch of postnatal depression and although delighted, on one level, with my new bouncing bubba, I was living in a dark place, situationally, emotionally and weather wise.  It was a dark December, in a few respects.

I awoke one chilly morning to discover a dead mouse on our kitchen floor.  Whether it was frozen or early onset rigor mortis, I couldn't tell.  It could have been either because the place was so cold.  That was the proverbial last straw.  I crumpled onto the floor and wept.  Hard.  After a few minutes, of this, I gradually became aware of a warm, affective presence in the room with me, and though I couldn't see him with my physical eyes, I had the feeling that the high King of Heaven reached down and sat on that cold, mouse bearing floor with me and he comforted me.  Actually, at first I cried all the harder at the thought of him meeting me there in that awful state, but after I got over feeling unworthy, I then felt comforted.  Humbled, I also felt for the first time in a while that I could go on and things would get better, brighter.  We'd be ok.  That following summer was the sunniest and longest for years before or since.  God's gift to me and our new daughter, whom I pushed in her beat-up Silver Cross pram for miles each day, simply for the joy of being out doors, in bright places, feeling the warmth of the Son.

Back to the crew galley, another ordinary place that I have recently found to be infused with the presence and warmth and flavour of someone extraordinary.  The same presence which met me on that kitchen floor, on the rough edge of town, 16 plus years ago, has been meeting me here, in this place and he's been bringing his friends who need a special word, or encouragement or direction.  The wonderful thing is, he has given me the words to speak. (Believe me, I've only to read the book of proverbs to know I don't have the sort of wisdom that's been coming out of my mouth of late).  I feel like I'm a spectator, of sorts, seeing the young woman, anxious about her future, shed tears of relief in response to a word picture of hope.  An older woman getting confirmation that the thing she's headed for next may actually be a stepping-stone to God's plan for her life.  A girl, who often seems to sit on the fringes of our community, draw close and enter into conversation.  Who'd have thought such a pedestrian place could also be one of such heart-warming ministry?  Even today, as my chicken finished cooking, I got into conversation with a young married woman who was asking about how we raised our 3 kids so well (answers on a post-card, please!).  I had a feeling there was more to it than what was on the surface.

Perhaps next time you find yourself feeling too ordinary and in too ordinary a place, you might pause, and internally posture yourself expectantly of who might give to you and receive from you.  And you may find your soul satisfied as with the richest of fare.

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