I don’t remember what the world looked like when I came into it. I constantly struggle to keep my eyes open enough to know much about what it looks like now.
But I can’t lose sight of what it could look like, one day.
I’m not a creative type, not really. I’m not good at designing things, making things look pretty, dreaming up big ideas or clever concepts. I wouldn’t go far in marketing. I’m not inspiring.
But I am inspired.
When imagination and inspiration come together with a sense that there’s a whole life ahead of you to use however you want – there’s something of the Gospel in that.
Dr Rowan Williams came to talk at work during Christian Aid Week, to give us a bit of encouragement, and share the casual genius he always does. He said the Christian message we have to offer the world is,
‘It doesn’t have to be like this.’
For a distillation of the message of Jesus in seven words, he’s hit the nail on the head. If Jesus’ coming into the world said nothing else, it said that. What you see is not what you have to get. There’s hope. There’s potential. There’s possibility. There’s beauty.
And it’s not a message that promises to whisk us away from broken and messy world we find ourselves inhabiting. It’s a message that says there’s hope in this world and hope for this world, if only we’d believe it.
Poverty doesn’t have to trap the billion people it currently has in its clutches forever.
Gender doesn’t have to be a source of oppression and unequal power.
Loneliness doesn’t have to drive people to isolated despair.
Arrogance doesn’t have to fuel war and prejudice and slavery.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
I’m inspired because I have people around me who not only believe that but live it. Two of them are currently at the Do Lectures, one because he wrote a brilliant application and the other because she made a brilliant 2 minute film (watch it here). They’re spending the weekend with other brilliant people who not only believe the world can be changed but believe in doing it.
That’s where I’ve got to. I’m catching the vision. I’m imagining a different world. I’m discovering community with people who live beautiful lives. And I want to do it too. I don’t know what it looks like for me, but I know it can’t mean turning up to work to sit behind a desk all day every day, and then going back to my cocoon.
I need to write, and learn to write better, because words are the most powerful tool I’ve got.
I need to love, and learn to love better, because that’s the only thing I’ve seen change the world.
I need to share, and learn to share better, because one life isn’t enough to make the world as beautiful as it can be.
I need to trust, and learn to trust better, because letting go of hope is letting go of everything.
Maybe then there’s a chance that I’ll leave the world a little more beautiful than I found it.