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I am Here, I am Ready

I took the wrong bus on New Year’s Eve. Well, that’s not quite true, I took the right bus in the wrong direction, and it might have been fitting, it might have been a metaphor for the whole damn year, especially as I was in denial about it. I kept thinking, any minute now. Any time now, this bus is going to start going where I want it to go. It may look like I am heading miles away from nowhere, but it has to be right. I took the No 49 from the Infirmary, it goes to Leith, it has to take me home eventually. 


Even when all evidence was to the contrary, even when every sign was flagging out that no, this was all wrong, I kept believing. Which is just what life has been like for me for months now, refusing to recognise and read the signs and admit to myself that I was headed in entirely the wrong direction, to a very dark place. Dalkeith. Not home, but Midlothian. It doesn’t get darker than that.


That is, of course, a comic construct and I have nothing at all against Midlothian, I am sure its lovely, and I apologise for using its good people to over-egg a metaphor. And anyway, maybe I wanted it darker? I am after all a Leonard Cohen fan – Hineni Hineni and all that. 


Maybe it was time to kill the flame. Except you can’t can you? Not really. Our esteemed editor asked me in the street the other day if I was losing my faith and I said no and meant it. 


That’s how it works; the darker things get brighter when the light shines, faith grows in terms of deeper, not of more. Sure, my faith in certain types of organised religion has faltered a bit at times. Institutions of broken, broken people, same as any other institution, any community, any bunch of humans, all making daily choices to own their wounds and vulnerabilities or shunt them onto someone else, someone perceived as weaker.


But my faith in the God who has kept all my tears, who has them written in his big old book of sadness ready to wipe them away, who will raise us up on eagle’s wings and hold us in the palm of his hand and a thousand other blissful promises? That doesn’t diminish at all. 


As well as a belief in some ultimate justice more mysterious than we can understand, which I am sure we all feel we need right now. Not just some kind of accountability, though I confess I am sometimes comforted by the thought of those who hurt us most, who seem so far above the law, one day answering the challenge “I gave you two arms, two legs and a set of balls and this is what you did with your life?” 


It’s much more than that. Its more than receiving fatherly reassurance, or a rather childish hope that the baddies will get found out eventually. Because it’s the voice of the man who died knowing that there could not be justice in situation, and somehow in all the pain had to make peace with that. 


The breath of Him who is love itself, present every time we love, waiting always closer than we can imagine, for us to feel His arms around us. Offering peace and joy that is unfathomable, otherworldly. Saying simply, I am, I am here. Things are happening for reasons you can’t possibly understand, but everything is okay.


And it is okay. I am good. I may not have a stable job or a life plan or at present a fully functioning pair of shoes but on the whole I am feeling just grand. I am enjoying going with the flow. I am writing more, and its good to be back at some of my old haunts, laptop and glass of chardonnay poised, fingerless gloves at the ready. 


Write a book, said both Esteemed Editor and my friend Guy Who is Always Right, so that feels like a fairly strong message of what to do: A plan of action of sorts.


I also did one of those fortune-telling things, where you look at a word search and the first three words you see will tell your future for the next year, and I got Sex, Bus and Success. And I’ll take that, thank you very much, and look forward to it. Sounds like a fabulous, and reasonably doable plan for 2020. Well, the first two at least, and as we all know from Meatloaf, two out of three ain’t bad. 


Just as long as the 49 in the wrong direction is not involved.

Sally Fraser ponders the pull of darkness and light on the No 49 bus

07 Leonard Cohen.jpg

Darkness and Light personified. Leonard Cohen mural, Montreal 


That’s how it works; the darker things get brighter when the light shines, faith grows in terms of deeper, not
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