ACW

ACW

Saturday, 25 February 2017

A Roundabout Journey, by Fiona Lloyd


Given that Lent is almost upon us, I thought I’d start with a Christmas question: How many wise men visited the infant Jesus?

What do you mean, it's not very realistic?


             If you’ve listened to as many Christmas sermons as I have, you’ll know it’s a trick question. Tradition – and countless school nativity plays – tell us there were three, to correspond with the number of gifts brought, but the Bible itself is not specific on this point.

            In 1895, Henry Van Dyke’s story The Other Wise Man was published. It tells of how there were originally four magi, who agreed together to go and seek out the new king. The fourth one, Artaban, arranges to meet his travelling companions at a set time and place, and packs his bag with three precious jewels to offer to the baby. However, he misses his rendezvous, because he stops en route to help a dying man. Undeterred, he races off to Bethlehem, only to find that his friends (and the holy family) have moved on a few days previously. What’s more, Herod is in a foul mood…

            If you want to know how the story ends, you can read it here: http://www.classicreader.com/book/593/1/. But without giving too much away, it’s clear that Artaban’s attempts to find Jesus are continually being thwarted by unforeseen distractions, and it’s only with hindsight that he realises that these interruptions are in fact a part of the search.

This could be a metaphor for my writing...


            So, here’s another question: How well do you cope with interruptions? Personally, I hate being distracted, particularly when I’m in the middle of writing. (Unless it’s a self-imposed distraction, obviously: if I never publish that best-seller, Facebook and Twitter will have some explaining to do.) And I know it’s important to carve out time for my writing, service preparation and so on. But this story reminds me that, if I’m not careful, the obsessive pursuit of my dreams could mean that I miss encountering Jesus in the mundane chaos of everyday life.


Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013 and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. You can find her on Twitter at @FionaJLloyd. Fiona is vice-chair of ACW and is married with three grown-up children.

12 comments:

  1. This gives me heart, Fiona, since life is at present more distraction than writing! Thank you.

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  2. Really true and something I've been thinking about too. Sometimes the things God wants us to throw ourselves into, for a time , are right under our noses but we miss them because of 'the obsessive pursuit of our dreams' Great post x

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    1. Thanks, Deborah - I'm trying to consciously slow down this year and look for God in the small things, too...but it's not easy!

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  3. I have just had a week of distractions thanks to half term. And I will be honest in that God hasn't played a big part, apart from one day this week that I begged for his help to be a better mother. I am sure he is slowly weaving his magic in my life.
    Thank you for a lovely post

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    1. You're welcome! - and I'm sure that God is working in your life, even in the midst of your business.

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  4. Thank you for this post Fiona. The last few months have been full of difficult distractions and very little writing but I was suddenly aware when I read your post that a) I have learnt a lot during this time and b) I haven't been alone in my worries, even when I thought I was.

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    1. That's really encouraging, Shirley - thanks for taking the time to respond.

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  5. I will admit that I leap on interruptions if the writing's not going too well and say 'Thank you! Thank you! What a marvellous excuse!'

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    1. I tend to scurry around ticking other jobs off my list, muttering about being distracted...but strangely enough, it never occurs to me that I could simply say "no"!

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