Monthly Archives: October 2013

Take a little, now and then.

It is hard to give something to me. I was reflecting the other day on one of my posts about being told I was a good man, https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/if-someone-tells-me-i-am-a-good-man-one-more-time/. I reflected on why this was potentially so challenging for me. Some of the power in that narrative lies in my struggle between my need for intimacy and where that can lead to and my relationship with the church. I certainly have relied on grace in the last few years, but when I step away from the whole notion that one class of sin is worse than another (shhh don’t tell the evangelicals that sexual sin is the same as turning a blind eye to those in need in their own congregation).
I remembered that I have struggled with being praised for as long as I can remember Odd that for a person who has sought the affirmation of others that I should reject it when it comes my way. It is a reflection on my insecurities. Did I say that aloud? Sometimes I am insecure! Ouch! Well it is true there are some situations where I am insecure, not so much these days as with a reformation of my mind and a work in progress in myy body I am coming to see that actually some of the things that I do I am good at!
So when I separate those things out I then think about what kinds of gifts I find hard to accept and why. Acts of service are very important to me but I am a reluctant recipient of such gifts to me. Especially when I feel they are unearned, even perhaps un warranted. There are two that stood out for me in recent times, one of these was a very long time ago, a friend of mine came to me and sought to wash my feet. It was a very challenging time for me to accept such an act of service. Washing someone’s feet is a profound statement. Feet are considered to be a very dirty part of the body in contact with all sorts of different things. That not withstanding, any act of cleansing someone’s body in any form is highly personal, it happens in some limited forms, (hairdressing, manicures, even dentists) but it is generally only accepted when someone is incapacitated and unable to do it for themselves. Accepting the help of someone else in cleansing yourself can be difficult as it is an admittance of inability or incapacity. For obvious reasons we often let our hair be cut by another rather than ourselves, like wise a semi surgical cleaning of our teeth. So what about a cleansing of our mind, heart and soul. Where do we turn to get that cleansed.
When we have self inflicted detritus that clogs our soul and spirit it can be somewhat easier to cleanse, the power of confession and contrition to a trusted person or if you are so inclined to a priest is restorative and powerful. Some of us are fortunate to have a relationship with God that enables us to talk directly and sort it out one to one. I will look at confession in another blog as interesting as it is it is a little meander down the wild side from where I want to go with this blog.
Where do we go when it is the actions of others that inflicts its suppurating, sourness upon us? We are exposed to all sorts of nastiness everyday in the news, it can be easy to turn off to, but when it hits us personally where can you turn. Now f someone else tells me to give it all to Jesus one more time they may find themselves face to face with their maker a little quicker than what they imagined, even if it is just a temporary loss of earthly consciousness.
Real people feel pain and hurt, sometimes it is directly and sometimes it is by association, the worst kind of pain is that of children, people who do not have the skills or the agency to deal with it. I am amidst a lot of this pain at the moment and personally it is building up. I spent a little time at the beach and that helped me process it somewhat today but I know that unfortunately it is going to be increased as I deal with some issues.
I take my own advice here and give it to myself as much as to others, should someone seek to wash your feet, (not literally necessarily ) but if they wish to perform an act of service for you be gracious enough to accept it as it is healing.
Well that meandered a little from whence I started however I am happy with where it ended, perhaps a little deeper on confession and my own inability to accept things that are good being said about me another day.
Live Love and Laugh,
Paul

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Looking for intimacy? A few thoughts.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose, so said Jim Elliot.  Jim was an evangelical missionary who payed the ultimate price for his faith in 1956 in Ecuador http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Elliot.  This is a motto that I heard first in song, sung by Phil Keaggy if I remember correctly.  The premise of this quote was that we have to give up control of our life to gain life.   Now I don’t want to explore this quote in particular but I am looking at the theme of giving, especially in the context of relationships today Continue reading

Something in my life I don’t want to live without

I don’t want to live in a world without touch.  I came to this conclusion after the last month or so.   I have been reflecting on this issue for quite a while as I struggled around issues of intimacy dating etc.   The five love languages on of the languages is touch, http://www.5lovelanguages.com/2009/03/speaking-love-through-physical-touch/ I have certainly identified touch as one of my languages.  Now touch can be viewed in a number of ways but at the heart of it is intimacy.  Touch is often classified as a sexual thing and unfortunately over time we have seen a number of issues arising around touch. Indeed touch in some circumstances has become taboo.  I heard an extreme view voiced by a student recently they said that a presenter on sexuality had said that “any uninvited touch was sexual abuse”.  The student said that was absurd and I agreed with them, he said shaking hands is touch.   He is correct for sure. 

Recently I had the privilege of being a apart of a school holiday camp programme. There were a lot of children there who did not have a significant male in their life, boys and girls.  A number of these children initiated touch, (always in public) from sitting real close at tables to running up arms open looking for a hug and a couple wanting to walk with me holding my hand.  This does not present a  conundrum to me at all.  It is not secret or inappropriate.

Some might say that we see examples of touch in a lot of sports that are played, Rugby has to be a classic example of that for sure.   A narrative that is worth exploiting sometime in the future perhaps.  Well I don’t play Rugby so where do I get my touch from. It is something that I have been considering , more so  in the last week as I work  through a couple of issues.

In acknowledging that I like giving touch I understand that I love receiving it as well.   I remember watching one episode of Frasier, Niles talked about how you can tell about the level of sexual frustration someone is experiencing by  how often they head to get their nails done.  “Manicurists, pedicurists, facialists. When you see a man who’s well-groomed, you can bet he’s not getting any.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582445/quotes This may seem a little strange but I remember an incident where I was given a manicure, I  have paid for manicures and indeed every 10 weeks or so  I  get a pedicure as a it helps prevent an ingrown toenail problem from re-emerging and b I enjoy the experience.   In this instance however it was done for me as a gift and it for me ranked as one of the most intimate and profound experiences that I have had. I include this to show that not all intimate touch has to be or indeed is sexual, and that touch plays an important role in any relationship.

I have heard many people complain about their relationships, one of the most frequent complaints I have heard is from women and invariably they have expressed the same or similar complaints which h goes like this. He never touchs me unless he wants sex.  Now some will talk  about the important of touch  in foreplay but frankly foreplay starts when you get out of bed and might conclude some days, or weeks later in the physical act of intercourse and in  some cases it takes the place of that for whatever reason. So back to me and my reflections.

I have often pondered on living a life of singlehood for whatever reason.  I have heard  people express numbers of reasons why they prefer singlehood, often in my opinion grounded in fear of  intimacy, emotions, hurt, commitment. Sometimes the driver is narcissism.  Now it would be unfair to lump every one who determines to remain single in this group and in the end it is our absolute right to determine our relationship status.   The world is full of conformists and I have no right to place expectations on others or to judge or scorn them.  Similarly I do not want to be judged or scorned.

This comes from people who see others that seek to be in relationship as week or worse still those religious who use the term let Jesus or God be all you need in life.  This is either religious bigotry at its worse or just plain ignorance, but before I wander off again I bring it back to touch for me it is quite simple, sex I can live without (I was married for 26 years so well used to that) but touch, and not day to day but a caress, someone resting their head on my chest as we lie together, holding hands as we pray or walk. Running my hands through a lovers hair, no without that in my life I will shrivel and die internally. They say time heals all things, I am not so sure  about that.  Yes touch is important to me but integrity is as well and I won’t sell my soul for touch, and touch that is bought is only temporal, a massage, manicure hair cut, all enjoyable but brief temporal relief that soon blows away like the dust….

Arohanui to all of you, take care, celebrate life and love whilst you still have breath.