There’s an object on my desk. Its’ produced a number of comments and questions from people as they’ve walked through the door. Is it a bread roll? A sweet potato? A regular potato? There was even a Peter Dutton reference during the leadership crisis.
It’s actually a surprisingly heavy river stone. I use it in a group exercise designed to increase cohesion and trust. We bring an object from nature and use it as a representation of a strength we possess. My stone is very sturdy. It’s also been battered and chipped. It has a number of cracks that don’t threaten its integrity but do testify to a tumultuous existence.
A lot like me. I was born into a family struggling with domestic violence fuelled by generational abuse and alcoholism. Later I barely lived through a heartbreaking marriage collapse and subsequent loss of connection to children, just months after the traumatic death of my father. These and lots of other moments have left me somewhat battered and chipped along the way. Yet I remain solid and durable. My wellbeing is intact despite struggles and confusion.
I put this down to one aspect of my life that informs and fuels my wellbeing. FAITH.
Faith (coming from the chaplain, of course) in the One who created me. I have a firm belief in my own unique and beautiful nature which mirrors that of my Creator’s. Just as you are unique and precious. This has meant, even in the darkest times of self-doubt, a glimmer of belief in the fact that I deserve the best in my life. That it is OK for me to strive to become that remarkable person I was made to be. And that is important for me to greet others with the same agenda.
Faith also in those around me whom I love and trust. From my hero Jesus of Nazareth, through supporters and loved ones who have stood beside me in through the thick and thin of my life, to my remarkable wife and partner. Faith in the people who I know I can trust to walk beside me as I commiserate or celebrate. This also powers up my sense of wellbeing.
Finally, faith in the future. My motto in life (unsurprisingly) comes from a letter in the Bible to struggling Christians in Rome. The sentence says this:
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to the divine purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
All things work together for good…. I have a faith in the future. I know from my experience that even the bleakest experiences have borne insight and growth when I have looked at them through this lens. I have learnt to celebrate at the drop of a hat. That all parts of the human experience can shape a future holding surprise and delight.
Its faith that keeps this battered old chaplain intact. Even flourishing. It’s what fuels my wellbeing and enables me to be the person I was created to be.
It’s not a potato or my lunch or even an unpopular politician. It’s a reminder that you can be battered and nicked yet remain solid and strong.