Old Meeting House Congregational Church (1643)

The Best Hidden Church in Norwich

The adventure of being human

Most of us have great admiration for a man like Sir Francis Chichester who sailed single-handed around the world by clipper route and was the fastest to circumnavigate the world in just nine months and one day during 1966 – 1967. He achieved a worthwhile goal by a similar effort of sustained perseverance and willpower.

In an age of the Welfare State when we are encouraged to take the line of least resistance and live off the State, we all find that qualities of enthusiasm, strength of character, and “tough-minded” optimism still count for something.

How can we improve our daily performance not only at work but in our everyday relationships?

I believe that we can all open up a new dimension to our lives by setting aside ten-minutes, daily, for a quiet half-hour by ourselves. Puritans like William Bridge who founded the Old Meeting House got up a 4am each morning to spend time alone with God. Sadly, we are so busy that we can’t take up as much time but not to take any time at all is a great mistake. Merely wishing for the thing vaguely whilst watching TV and waiting for it to arrive, can be asking for the impossible. Inspiration may provide the rhythm to keep us in step, but aspiration gives us a map of our journey.

Why not start each day with an affirmation? I love one that I found in the book of Psalms which has now become one of the Taize chants that I love to sing. The words come from Psalm 27 verse 13. “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” The key is to repeat it to ourselves audibly on rising, determined to hold it in our minds through the day. Expect to be happy and successful. Expect to be well. Don’t leave it too late before committing yourself.

Listen to what W.H. Murray, the Scottish mountaineer who climbed Everest in 1951 wrote about commitment: “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffective. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moved too.

All sorts of things occur that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goeth’s couplets:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Image result for sir francis chichesterJohn.

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