Over the last year, I have had 2 of the most spiritual moments of my life. One was when I was totally on my own watching a sunrise. You can read that story in ‘part 1‘. The other involved a campfire and a wild camp with friends in freezing conditions.
It is regular practice for us as a group of friends to disappear into the wild for a micro-adventure. A time to refresh and re-boot. This time it was a night in March. Four lads sat around the well stoked campfire cooking food over the flames. Plenty of banter and laughs were had and once the food was finish, we settled into our conversations.
Each of us had to bring an attribute of Jesus that we wanted to talk about, either because we felt an affinity with it or because it felt far from us. As we talked, real truths and deep insights were running through the conversation like rivers. It was dark, with zero light pollution. Stars shining and fire dancing. We had no phones or watches so time became irrelevant. As each of us talked, the others allowed them the time to properly talk. No-one finished the others sentences. No-one paraphrased to speed the conversation along. We had all the time in the world. But the most important and amazing part of the conversations were the silences. The times when you have finished with the words but have not finished with talking. There are great truths to be found in the words spoken after the silences.
I remember very clearly that one of the lads was sharing about the characteristic of Jesus that he felt far from. He stopped. There was silence for at least a minute. He shared more but this time it was more thought-through and personal. Silence. He shared again about some difficulties. Silence. He shared again. And there is was; the root of his worry. The wound. The core. The ‘do I have what it takes’ moment. We sat. We prayed. We became the Band of Brothers that all men long for. True, open friendship.
That moment would not have happened amidst the hustling of everyday life. Life has got too busy. It sometimes feels that ‘busyness is a disease‘ that our culture thrives off. And in that moment of sitting around a fire, by a riverside, in the middle of nowhere, there was a power that only stillness can bring.
The following morning we awoke in sleeping bags that were practically frozen solid and real sense that we had encountered something special. That was a moment I will never forgot as it taught me there is power in doing ‘nothing‘ there is power in true friendship and there is power in silence.
Much love. Rob