Friday, 30 August 2013

The Accountant and The Artist

               Accountants, I’ve discovered, tend to be rational, realistic, logical pragmatists. They live ordered lives based on predictable outcomes that they have reasoned are most practical and sensible, and the least likely to vary.
               Accountants love numbers, numerical calculations, spreadsheets and budgets. Predictability is their comfort zone. They find great satisfaction in balancing the figures at the end of the day, and providing a nest-egg for the end of their life.
              The Accountant loves order. His genius comes to the fore sitting at a desk which is arranged in orderly fashion with an in-tray and an out-tray, neatly stacked manila folders and a pen, looking out at filing cabinets conveniently aligned in alphabetical order along the far, unadorned wall. 
              Accountants pride themselves on being frugal. They waste nothing. When faced with the challenge of writing a birthday card for his daughter, even though he loves her dearly, the Accountant will more than likely simply write, "To Jule, love Dad", for the sake of being economical with words. 
              The Accountant is in no danger of becoming a hoarder. He looks at each and every object and asks, “Do I need this? Will I use this in the near future?” ‘Minimalist’ is a term that comes to mind.
               Accountants are steadfast, reliable people who stick to the rules and are unlikely to ruffle any feathers. They like to plan ahead and to be prepared for any eventuality. They do not like surprises.

How do I know these things?
My father is an accountant.

               Artists on the other hand, tend to be imaginative, inventive, creative, idealistic dreamers. They like to leave options open, to explore all possibilities, to be spontaneous. Not  always content with the status quo, Artists love the challenge of creating alternative pathways in life, and find great delight in anything that looks or behaves out-of-the-ordinary.
               The Artist finds various means to express himself  - it may be through paint on a canvas, words on a page, actions on a stage, or solving a problem that has presented itself.  To this end he looks at every object that comes his way and asks, “What masterpiece is lying within?” and it’s this addiction to ‘possibility thinking’ that causes him to throw nothing away.
                The Artist is happiest when he is alone in his ‘creating space’. His studio / study is left ‘unordered’ so that inspiration can flow freely. Artists do not always appreciate helpful people tidying up for them. It can be challenging for the Artist at times to focus on the practicalities of life, when their creative mind is otherwise engaged. However, at the end of the day, their genius confounds us all, when it brings to reality those amazing things the rest of us can merely dream about.

How do I know these things?
My husband is an Artist.

                That’s right – I have both an Accountant and an Artist who feature prominently in my life. My father Colin, and my husband Ross, could not be more different, and I can't imagine life without either one!

                 Yet, despite being poles apart personality-wise, they actually have a lot in common. It’s a commonality that springs from their personal faith in God.
                 For as long as I have known both my father and my husband, their steadfast commitment to Jesus Christ has been the focus of all they do in life. They have both spent a lifetime focused on knowing God, and making him known. They ceaselessly use their gifts and talents to build up their family, the Church, their local community and beyond.
                 Together in their differences they unite to present God’s image to the world - creative yet immutable, orderly yet unpredictable, faithful yet innovative, absolute yet infinite. Their indisputable love for, and commitment to, their wives and children bears witness to the heart of God for his creation.
                 I have to say I love both my Accountant and my Artist dearly, and that I am very grateful for the texture both these men bring to my life. I cannot overstate the remarkable contribution each has made to the personhood of me.
                 And thinking about it now, I guess the reason I manage to relate so happily with both, is because even though they are poles apart in temperament, there resides within my own (oft-times conflicted) DNA, attributes of both!  
                 Furthermore, I've come to see hints of both the Accountant and the Artist finding expression also in my children, and in my grandchildren. 
                 Or is it the image of God that I see?

Friday, 16 August 2013

Band of Brothers

The boys had swords and torches.
They'd discovered that once the door to the walk-in wardrobe in our bedroom was closed, it made the perfect Dark Cave. 

I sat at the computer in my Study just down the hall and listened to the adventure unfolding.

There was thumping and laughing, squealing and shouting.
Deep 'pretend' voices were scheming and plotting how to rid the world of evil.
Every now and then this band of 3 brothers (aka my grandsons) would emerge from the Dark Cave and I’d catch the drift of the adventure that was underway.

I'd smile to myself and keep tapping away at my keyboard.

In and out of the Dark Cave they went, over the bed, under the bed, up and down on the bed. Every now and then they would tear down the hall, and bump and tumble their way down the stairs whooping and declaring war, then they’d return to the Dark Cave.

After a while though I noticed the tone beginning to change.

As they stood in the hallway I overheard, 
“Ohhh… why can’t I be the Good Guy?” (Rome, 4 yrs old)
“Because we can only have one Good guy.” (Zion, 7 yrs old)
“But why can’t it be me?” (Rome)
“Because we need someone to be the Baddie.” (Zion)
“But I’m always the Bad Guy!” (Rome)
“Alright then, Knoxie can be the Bad Guy!” (Zion)
“Yah! Yah!” (Knox, 2 and 1/2yrs old, making sword-swiping noises)
The 2 Good Guys ran into the Dark Cave and slammed the door.
“Let me in!” (Knox)
“Do you know the password?” (Rome)
“What?” (Knox)
“Do you know the password?” (Rome)
“Do you know the p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d??” (Zion and Rome, yelling)
“What???” (Knox yelling back)
“D-o  y-o-u  k-n-o-w the p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d?!”
“Let me in!!!” (Knox yelling extra loudly)

After this exchange the Dark Cave door flung open and Zion declared:
“I know, PA can be the Bad Guy!”
“Yeah!” shouted the other two in unison.
Problem solved, the 3 Good Guys then flew down the stairs in search of Pa yelling:
“Yah! Yah! Yah!” and swiping their swords through the air.


I love being around children.
Throughout my teaching career, motherhood, and now grandmother-hood, I have never ceased to be amused, and enlightened, by having these little people in my world!

They come in different genders, different shapes and sizes, different talents and abilities, and different personalities.
But they all come with their honesty and unpretentious expectations from life.
I love their perceptions of the world, their curiosity, their unquenchable thirst to know why? how? when?
They are so willing to trust.
They have astounding insight into spiritual truth.

Jesus loved being around children too.

He must have found it so refreshing sometimes – like the time his disciples were arguing as to which of them would get the highest rank in God’s Kingdom.
On this occasion, Jesus took a little child in his arms and said:
                         “I’m telling you once and for all, that unless you return to square one, 
                          and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the 
                          Kingdom, let alone get in.                                                                  
                          Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will 
                          rank high in God’s kingdom.” (Matthew 18:2-4 MSG)

Kingdom Life.

Simple and elemental.

Trust. Faith. Honesty. 

Curious. Unpretentious.

Band of Brothers.

Goodies vs Baddies.

Save the world!

Goodies vs Baddie

Pa, with the Band of Brothers

Kingdom Life is an adventure