My relationships with written words

I have developed a habit of walking into St Albans after, ‘Meeting for worship’ (Quakers) and calling into Waterstones bookshop. I glance around me, pick up a few books and read the inside covers. I then wander upstairs, order tea from the cafe and find a chair at the back.

It is a small table and an empty chair faces me. I have this fantasy that I am prepared for someone to sit on the chair opposite and have a chat. One person has sat in the chair and had a chat though others begin talking while looking at the surrounding shelves of books.

I have noted other regulars who seem to carry out a similar ritual causing me to think that bookshops are, ‘Centres for seekers’.

Of course, religion is my, ‘go to section’. I have this deal with myself that I will read as much of a book as it takes me to drink my tea. I pulled down Richard Rohr book, ‘Falling Upwards’. I got as far as one of his chosen quotes at the start of the book which I have used in the header.

More and more I find that a couple of lines will be enough for me. I have berated myself for being a slow reader though today I felt a little voice say, “It is a gift.”

It is not the words themselves it is what they convey and the sequence in which they are placed. There are 19 words in the Carl Jung quote consisting of 2 sentences and they have caught me.

I am unlikely to read the complete works of Carl Jung though if he can sum up his work in as less as words as possible the power of his work will carry far.

Can you feel the truth of those words? I feel relieved by them. Too often I want answers, solutions, resolutions yet when they don’t come are ‘of slow of coming’ I get seriously frustrated. I have lived long enough now to know that what causes rage today can be lived with for years.

The example that came to mind was when bollards were placed in the car park where we live preventing any of the residents from parking. I was furious, I could n’t sleep and when I did I felt the bollards were being hammered into my head. We protested, we consulted lawyers though when told it would cost £50,000 to bring a case to the High Court for a ruling we all shrunk back.

We have adapted our parking habits and in so doing we have infuriated neighbours further down. Each time I look, almost 3 years on, I note that the grass grows around the posts and I guess so do I. Rather than being narrowed down to the posts I go the other way and expand knowing that the further I am away from them the less relevant they are. And so may those problems that I spend too much time worrying about become as the posts as I outgrow them.

Just before I left Waterstones I pulled out an old paper I had yet to finish reading and once again fell on the story of Jonathan Bryan. Jonathan was born with cerebral palsy and was unable to communicate until his parents taught him to read and write. He uses his eyes to communicate and although an 11 year old he is has a blog which features his stories.

I do think I communicate better through the typed word whether here, by letter, email or texting. Dialogue can be such an emotional experience.

I question whether relationships can exist with just written words and then I remember that a large part of my spiritual development has been based on written texts. My understanding and relationship with the divine comes from written words and inner promptings.

g.