It’s just another quiet night out here in the yard. The trees are doing their sentinel silhouette thing, as if they’re waiting for something. The dog is just over there and the stars are burning. I feel the odd one out with my lean towards hurry. Hurry about what? Hurry makes noise and noise makes you deaf.

I lean back the other way, towards infinite love: towards listening. ‘Prayer is standing to attention in your soul,’* we are told, and, ‘the Spirit of truth will guide you into all the truth.’ ** In other words, I am at some kind of dealing table with One who is not trapped in time, who pervades all things (visible and invisible) and yet loves me and all mine, deeply! To make matters worse, this One is always full of energy and eager to play—or perhaps rumble. Depending on the moment, it could be a summons to be still, to listen; to answer questions, to ask questions or to embrace change. This is hard work. Harder than any footy game that’s for sure. I want to go to bed!

I don’t hear an audible voice in these times, but not uncommonly something comes to mind, which is sensible and practical. At other times I find myself laughing, getting angry, feeling silly or having to go and apologise to someone.

I don’t sense any questions, so I ask my favourite one: ‘Is there anything you would like to draw to my attention?’ Before long I’m dwelling on the unspeakable homesickness*** of our lovely old world, which—for all of her carry on—just longs to be home but won’t admit it. And here’s me: busily trying to help her see that she is homesick—and failing badly.

But wait! Something really has caught my attention! This is the last year our three boys will be at home together. You can’t let this just fade out. You have to do something. One of my mates once said, ‘The time comes to do something special for one of your children, and it will and must be, expensive.’

Dollars come to mind, which is normally an embarrassment in our household, but right now our account has some good dollars in it: dollars intended for my wife and I to go on a big holiday. Maybe I could compromise and just take the two eldest. I head back inside to get my wife’s thoughts.

‘Spend it,’ she says, smiling. ‘And don’t just take the two, take all three!’

I’m smiling at her and still smiling about what became a laughter-filled, snow-boarding, bungy-jumping holiday with the boys in New Zealand.


*Simone Weil

** Jesus in John 16:13

*** GK Chesterton said, ‘All philosophy is homesickness.’