Locked Rooms

I begin by using a quote that inspires me;

“You are so young, so before all beginning, I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

(Rainer Maria Rilke – Letters to a Young Poet, 1929)

I am not sure I qualify as young but this spoke to me, with thanks to the lovely Kim Oliver for sending the book to me.  I think it is my emergent strategy.  When I studied for my MBA, one of the concepts that came forward was “emergent strategy” described by Mintzberg (1939), as opposed to a planned strategy 

 As I reflect back on my work (my last job) we spent a lot of time developing the strategy of the organisation, considering the future including a vision and mission with strategic and operational objectives. Many were not achieved fully or as intended, presenting good examples of emergent strategy.  I feel sadness that some of the key objectives, whilst there was some progress made towards our vision this will be lost as the organisation has changed shape having a different focus towards a new vision 

My life has been turned upside down, I have no idea at times what is going to happen next! Grief can cloud so much. It can get in the way of using your situation towards unexpected goals and ambitions. Thus, managing sadness, grief and the sense of loss has to be done, definitely acknowledging it which is very important, but not letting it get in the way. Claude AnsHin Thomas (2004) said “when you discover the liberation that comes with stopping the struggle and becoming fully present in your own life. This is the real path to peace and freedom”. How true is this for all of us.  Now, I do not know what my “fully present” means for me (can any of us understand this without reaching for it), but it noted there is work to do, and I suspect the process will be revealing, healing in its own way. As my good friend Val reflects “there is a balance between acceptance and perseverance.  However, accepting that there is no use in my left arm/hand, whilst tottering along on a weak left leg rather like a snail undulating and sliding (yuk, nasty – be careful now Peter you might be reported for “Gastropod phobia” !). It is so tough and painful both physically and emotionally. My room with the answer might be locked at the moment and my patience and faith will be sorely tested but I will continue in the hope that something good and positive will emerge in the course of time.

A lot of people use the drawings and work of Charlie Mackesy so I am joining in

Peter.   May 2021 

10 thoughts on “Locked Rooms

  1. Dearest Peter, I hear new hope emerging in your writing. The door will open and the translation to the book will be happen….sent an email with a song that speaks to my heart when I’m in deep sorrow and soul pain. I love the last verse that says ‘ waiting, groaning for the dawn to break….’ it’s coming. ‘Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30.5’ Look for my email. Kx
    Much love Kim


    • Lovely Kim. thank you so very much for your kind and great words. I have tried to find the song you mention but I need to keep looking Me and technology do not work well together


  2. Hi, Peter Thank you for this.  Just as there have been slow, but quite big, improvements in your physical condition since your stroke, so it is possible to see a real journey in your thinking and understanding and spiritual response to the stroke.  Bless you for sharing this journey with us. I thought I’d tell you briefly about my friend Lynne, who was part of our Courage journey many years ago. She is now in a nursing home, where she’s been for the past three or 4 years, despite being only a couple of years older than me. Her siblings all have congenital rheumatoid arthritis.  Two brothers, who also had special needs and mental health problems, have passed away in their 50s, one with cancer and one with a severe chest infection (I suspect, Covid).  He other brother is in motorised wheelchair through the arthritis and her sister is determined to somehow keep walking and not succumb to a wheelchair.  Lynne is bedridden after a severe hospital fall some years ago.  She too has had mental health problems and after admission to the home she lay in bed depressed and unwilling to communicate with anyone for many months.  I’d lost touch with her when she was admitted to the home and didn’t know what had happened to her for a long time, then managed to get the info from Jeremy.  Her sister asked me to send her a card every couple of months which I began doing.  And eventually she began to ring me, usually ever couple of weeks.  During the pandemic only her sister’s been able to see her and that through a window.  But I’m hoping to visit on 25th when I head to London.  Lynne normally only got out of bed on a Friday when she had a bath because she so hates being hoisted, but has recently started allowing them to get her up on a Tuesday for her sister’s visit, as she wanted to begin to prepare for a visit from her brother in the north during August. This means that when I go I may be able to see her in the garden if the weather is good enough.  She prays for various folk and watches the Zoom services from her sister’s church. As I reflect on Lynne and your own situation and all that’s happened in the world over the past year, especially recently in India, in Myanmar and so many countries whose news seldom hits the BBC (which I get from Christian organisations and, surprisingly, Al Jazeera) I have come to conclude that suffering is the normal state in this poor old world.  Since the advent of good healthcare, especially antibiotics and inoculations, we have come to think of it as abnormal but it’s not.  Throughout the history of the world and attested in the Bible, we are all born to trouble.  It’s what we do with it that counts. And for many of us that is a lifetime’s work, to be joyful and at peace and accepting even in the midst of our troubles.  So, after just a few short years, you are doing brilliantly, my friend. I don’t believe in a literal ‘Fall’ as described in Genesis, but it’s clear to me that that mythology is expressing a very deep truth about the human condition in a world not yet fully under Christ’s rule.  Something clearly went very badly wrong and I suspect that who experiences what is very very seldom a question of ‘you did this, so you will suffer that’ but a fairly random set of negatives that can happen to any one of us, just because of whatever it was that went badly wrong with the world.  So many people ask what have I done to deserve this?, but it’s usually the wrong question (& one that I’ve never heard you ask, incidentally.  You ask: why me? as any of us would, but I’m thankful you never seem to associate this with personal guilt as if you deserve to suffer, whereas when anything happens to me my first question is uh oh, what have I done now!?  Lol!).  The better response is the lovely prayer to ask God to give us the courage to change what we can, the ability to accept what we can’t and the wisdom to know the difference.   And it seems to me that you are very much moving in the direction of that prayer and although you probably don’t feel it yourself, becoming more serene in the midst of frustrations.  We seldom sense these good qualities in ourselves but others pick them up.  Countless people have told me ‘you’re such a peaceful person to be around’ and I think ‘If only you knew!’  Inside i’m a raging cauldron of doubt, self-recriminastion, frustration, anger and angst, but somehow they pick up something different, which I can only put down to the Spirit of God DESPITE me!  And I’m sure others are picking up God’s grace from you, whatever turmoil your mind is sometimes in. Sorry – I do ramble on, I know!  Hope you two are having a good day. I’m in London and the Southeast at end of May, beginning of June. Won’t get to Diss this time but hopefully I’ll be able to resume my bi-monthly visits and make the trek across to you before too long.  Maybe I’ll combine it with Bressingham or perhaps Beth Chatto’s garden near Tiptree. Lots of love James


    • Wow! Thank you James for this very kind response in such a considered thoughtful way! I really do appreciate it. You and I need to write a book together. When you do come his way you must visit stay over if you wish but in the meantime huge thanks and much love. Peter (also raging inside at times!!) xx


  3. Thank you Peter, fas always, or your thoughtful – and provocative words. There are many who would teach us to live in a way that is fully present now – capturing the moment – and yet we also need vision and a sense of where we are going. As you say, holding them in balance can be a tricky one!


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