This Beautiful Fantastic

Truth is, I lag behind when it comes to films. Deafness means I have to wait until I can watch a dvd with subtitles, and I’ve only just discovered 2016’s This Beautiful Fantastic. It’s the story of a young woman, Bella, who is under threat of eviction unless she attends to her overgrown garden. In the process of confronting the issues that lie behind her horticultural neglect, relationships blossom in unexpected ways.

Bella lives with OCD, and at the beginning of the film we see her life dictated by routines.

2__TBF Bella (Jessica Brown Findlay) looks out of window

But she discovers that there is more to life when she expands her horizons and starts to do things differently.
The storyline made me turn over some ground in my own mind.
Our choices can imprison us. Regret, reluctance, and resignation are powerful jailers. But we have a choice, to live in their shadows, or to begin to free ourselves from their constraints.

In the film, we see Bella begin to tackle the undergrowth in her garden by taking a pair of secateurs and making a single snip. Removing one entangling tendril seems insignificant amid the overgrowth surrounding her, but the point is that she’s made a start.

At first sight one character looks likely to lend a hand, but because he has a pollen allergy, he’s restricted to providing Bella with restorative meals and encouraging words.
Ironically, aid comes from an unlikely character, her cantankerous neighbour. However, rather than providing practical help, it’s his passion and knowledge of gardening that give her inspiration and energy.

thisbeautiful.d

There are parallels here in life as a believer.
God doesn’t step in and do instant makeovers of our lives. Instead, God catches our imaginations, and nudges us to tackle the unchecked attitudes and behaviours that result in our entanglement.
It’s about partnership, and when we actively choose to respond to the Spirit, we will find that God offers us timely, enabling sustenance and encouragement.

Of course, the garden transformation would have been an easy job if Bella had hired someone else to do it, but this is a story of personal development and the difference that clearing away stifling undergrowth and entangling overgrowth can make.
So I’m choosing to let the Light in, that I may grow and blossom…

Truth is… Keep your roots deep in him  Colossians 2:7

 

The tide has turned…

clockface

Do I hold the record for procrastination?
For years – 35 to be precise – I’ve felt a niggle to write.
I’ve even had titles: ‘Images & Reflections’ dates back to 1982 when I was working at the Abbey on the Isle of Iona, but guess what, I’ve just discovered that 10 years ago someone else produced ‘Iona: Images and Reflections’, so I’ve long missed the boat!

boat wake

Thank goodness then, for a very patient God, for the tide has turned within me.
I’m now charting new waters and have decided to venture beyond my ongoing journals.
There’s been a shift and I’ve decided to blog.

shift key

Writing for me, is a way of making sense of life from a faith perspective.

God, our creator, has high hopes for us, urging us to discover our true selves,
but so much can get in the way.
Truth is, self-doubt and fear of failure are just some of the seas I’ve been sailing.
These fears have left me wrecked at times, but I’ve never been beyond God’s rescue.
Time and time again God has helped me to my feet,
yet rather than letting go of my fears, I’ve often let them hold me in their grip.
At worst I’ve not let God take my hand, I’ve been afraid of the unknown.

hands

Now though, it’s time to change in a deeper way.
It’s time to ‘put my hand into the dark and find it held.’
How about you? Do fears sometimes knock you off course?

The good news for all of us, is that it’s always ‘better late than never’
and it’s definitely ‘never too late’ – whatever form our particular procrastination takes.
So let’s not look back with regret, but forward with hope.

Truth is… I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me’ Philippians 3:13