Day Three happened, just the write up didn’t! So here it is!
Our two friends come chasing after us, Obstinate and Pliable…. my goodness this could be written about my children!
As we start off on our journey towards the great, others watch us, shocked at what we are doing, what we are trying to achieve. They think with their best intententions that they need to rescue us, from what? From ourselves of course. We can’t get to where we are aiming, we can’t reach the goal, the city, the promise, the dream. We will end up hurting ourselves, we musn’t do it. We shouldn’t do it. Not you, you aren’t big enough, clever enough, smart enough, rich enough, brave enough…. fill in your own word.
Here they come, obstinate and pliable. Obstinate has always been right, probably never listened long enough to hear the people saying that those words aren’t true. And there, by his side (or hers!!) is pliable, maybe, in fact they are Mr and Mrs. Pliable, always willing to go along, to say yes or no or maybe or whatever you want to hear or someone else tells them to say. Obstinate doesn’t have to listen, they know you can’t make it because they are always right. Pliable doesn’t bother to think whether you can, they just agree with obstinate. So along they come chasing after you and your dream. Sure enough Obstinate is bigger than you and your dreams. Looming over, catching up and taking you over before you can even truly set out on the journey. You can’t do it, the words echo round and meet up with those doubts of your own. You look to Pliable, nodding in agreement, but your dreams shout out, YOU CAN!
Your choice right now to turn back, go back and wonder. Or to wander.
J.R.R. Tolkein with his mind full of imagination said “Not all who wander are lost…” Not all who wonder are either. Someone sent me a card with that quote on when we first started our life overseas. Its true, so many times I have not seen clearly the road, or known the way ahead. But I have not been afraid to wander, through the fault filled language, through the panic over health, through the cultural faux pas… its actually fun to wander, normally more fun when you are reflecting than at the moment!
For the boys, what can they learn? Well a wry smile on the eldest face let me know he recognised his over confident qualities. He might never have described himself as obstinate before but he knew the cap fitted, well! He could see the pig headed-ness of obstinate, the unfriendly forcefulness of insisting on being right, being first, being boss. He saw the negative qualities probably because he had felt them. But when is obstinate good? That was more of a challenge to think of.
Little Pilgrim was also obstinate, determined to press on, despite the arguments, the nagging doubts, the ‘wondering’. Obstinate allows us to be focussed, to be single minded on what we believe even if no one else understands. Obstinate allows the impossible to become possible, often in words we cannot explain…. it just is right to us because it is.
Pliable decided to continue the journey, for once daring to stand up to Obstinate, daring for once to walk towards the things he had wondered about. How brave, how freeing that must have felt. To come out of the shadow and to walk, to wander.
The boys wrote down how the qualitites of Obstinate and Pliable were both positive and negative. Great to reflect on how our qualities are not always negative but can be used for good as well if we choose to use them rightly. So, the wandering continues, as does the wondering….