A short post today. A weekend off so there have been no mountains climbed and only a few short dog walks with Georgie still recovering from the long walk earlier this week. But there has been a thank you, a vision deciphered, some tumbling in the snow and some wonderful prayers of intercession which I had to share with you.

I had a lovely message on Saturday from a gentleman who had been following my posts for some time and wanted to thank me for clarifying the harsh realities of such incidents such as the auras experienced during a partial seizure throw me in to. By talking about my experiences and describing the experience each aura brought in such detail I had helped this gentleman greatly. He was a diabetic and had experienced a number of these similar auras. By reading that I too had also suffered such auras similar to his he took comfort that he was not alone in the manifestations of such weird experiences and also liked to hear how I managed to handle them. I took great comfort from knowing that I had helped him and that I too was not alone in these experiences so thank you very much for your kind message.

But now for the vision which so disturbed me when I woke with it on Saturday morning that I had to go to Edinburgh to seek some help to decipher it from a friend. The vision was very simple. A tall man (whom I presumed to be God the Father) and a child (whom I presumed to be me) were walking hand in hand. The child holding a burning torch that threw forward a golden glow down what could have been a tunnel or was perhaps just the earthen walls of an old bridge or a cave or just an old mossy alleyway. It was hard to tell what the two figures were heading into. They were silhouetted jet black against the golden glow so no facial features were visible. Just that one looked like the Father and the other the child at about 12 years old. The child was holding the torch and it felt like they were drawing me forward into whatever earthen walled structure they were heading into. There was not a sound. Just a deathly quiet throughout.

Dusk over Doune
Dusk over Doune

I woke in a hot sweat after what must have been a very heavy night sweat with this image burning in my head. I couldn’t shake it as I walked the dog the short mile up to and around the park and back. In fact all I could seem to decipher from this vision was that God was leading me by the hand into a grave. Those, in my mild panic, were what the earthen walls were. He was telling me that it was time to go. I tried hard to shake the image or at least its guessed meaning. I turned up the track to hit the steps down in to the ponds just to give myself a little more air. More time. I was physically feeling really good. There had to be another meaning. As I walked I hit upon another possibility. Perhaps God was taking me on a journey further afield. The earthen walls were an old tunnel or bridge to somewhere else. I had always had an aspiration to make the challenge a little expeditionary so perhaps he was saying that now was the time to take his message of hope, inspiration and encouragement further afield. I quite liked that idea so developed it further. I could just pack some stuff and go to wherever he sends me and spend the next few months and years traveling this wonderful country or maybe even further afield. However the more I thought about the practicalities of such a scheme, of the children and being there for them, of my ongoing medical treatment and those requirements, of getting changed as I shivered in a cold village hall after waking first thing in the morning, alone and listening to the rain rattling off the windows as I pondered a quick breakfast and a wet adventure. Shaving in cold water and scrabbling around for something hot to eat with hands numb from the cold. It didn’t make for a very pleasant calling and surely God wasn’t calling me to that as I continue to recover from the effects of the treatment. I was confused and suddenly at home. The children were having a lie in so I cracked on with breakfast and as I did so I made a decision. I was going to Edinburgh to seek some help from a friend just as soon as I could.

Up the hill to watch James sledging
Up the hill to watch James sledging

I met up with Allie in Edinburgh. She was there waiting for me as I got off the train and immediately I knew I was in the right place. The whole way up in the train I couldn’t settle on what it all meant and instead spent the journey doing lots of detailed administrative planning for the magical mystery tour of the UK but Allie was studying for a PhD in Theology in Edinburgh, had significant life experience, could see and then explain things very clearly but equally wasn’t shy of saying what needed to be said when it was needed. In other words, I knew that I was going to get good, honest, robust and God centred advice. After a good walk through the chilly streets of Edinburgh we picked a Restaurant for lunch that Allie knew had very slow service so would allow plenty of time to talk. It was absolutely the right choice and as we enjoyed the good food and views over Newhaven Harbour we got down to settling Archie. I talked about the vision and then started burbling on about what I thought it meant and how I was going to go on this massive, never ending expedition. I think I left out the bit about the grave as I didn’t want to upset Allie and had discounted it anyway. But I put in lots of detail about the plan that I had thought through on the train. Allie stopped me and reminded me of the need to apply common sense to such a scheme. What about your treatment. How are you going to manage that? What about the children? They need you too. How are you going to afford to live? Then I told her about the idea of using the village halls as a base and she immediately reminded me about the realities of such a scheme. The list of things that didn’t mesh went on and the more she made me realise how extreme it was the more confused I became. ‘But Allie surely, if I make, which I have, a proclamation that I am going to put my hand in God’s hand, trust him with my very life, and follow him wherever he leads me, to do whatever he commands – then I must follow those commands to the letter whether I like them or not. Whether they seem sensible or not. No matter how impractical they sound. Surely I just have to trust that his plan is good and that he will provide in whatever way he sees fit. I might not be able to see the end state but I just have to trust that there is one and go with the flow!?!’ Here Allie’s wisdom shone through as she pulled on some experience she had with another friend and advice that her friend had received. Allie could see that I was pretty determined to just go for it whatever the consequences or circumstances. ‘Archie, just have breakfast first.’ In other words sleep on it. Think on it. Don’t be impetuous. I didn’t like to hear that but it was absolutely what I needed to hear. I was so determined to prove that I was not being led to my grave that I was trying to force the first possible alternate interpretation on myself whatever the outcome because it had to be better than the grave. We had coffee and I promised to have breakfast first. It started snowing so as a little bit of light relief perhaps after such intense conversation we went for a walk along the harbour in the snow, the lighthouse glowing and guiding the fishing boats in on the safe route into the harbour. How apt I thought.

Sunday morning and I was going to church to seek further guidance but only after having breakfast first. A quick dog walk first though. 2 miles crunching through the snow up over the village along the Commonty Walk and back down, past the park and in to home. Breakfast and then church where I finally understood.

Today’s service was all about God and Jesus being one. The light of the world which will guide us through whatever troubled waters or darkness we find ourselves in as long as we put our hand in his and follow the light of the world.

I put my head in to my hand and shook my head in despair. Oooohhhhhhh how stupid I have been. I was even reading about God and Jesus being one in a book on Jesus the night before. What I saw was God and his son Jesus. The light of the world. That was all that the vision meant.

I wasn’t being led to my eternal darkness. It wasn’t time to die. It wasn’t a call to go on some great tour of the UK. He was just reminding me of my affirmation made last Sunday and reassuring me that if I continued to follow him both, the light of the world, he would lead me out of the darkness.

I was navigating troubled waters and in need of some guidance. He was giving it. Don’t worry. Just come with me both and we will show you the way and keep you safe. Thank goodness for having breakfast first. Allie – thank you.

The service continued including the prayers of intercession which were brilliant. In fact so good and relevant to us all today that I include them at the end of the post for you and for your reflection.

Once back home I got changed and checked on an elderly neighbour across the road from me. She was amazing in that she walks to the bus stop and takes the bus to Stirling nearly every day to do her shopping. Her husband sadly died recently and I have just tried to keep an eye on her since. She was very well and even joking about wheezing her way along on the running machine she pretended that she had in a room upstairs!! One thing that she was nervous of though, like us all was the snow and ice. So I set about clearing the pavement along the front of her house to help her and found it to be such good exercise did mine too. Then up to the hill to watch James sledging. Just about the entire village was on the hill sledging giving it a real snow festival type atmosphere even though the hill was becoming more devoid of snow as it was pushed more and more downhill by the sleds and tumbling bodies. There was still more than enough snow though for sledging and they were having a ball. James wanted to stay rather than come home for lunch. Cool. He could come home when his tummy asks him too. We are very lucky to live here in Doune. Lunch done, some admin done and Heather was going for a run while I took Georgie on another 2 mile walk before cooking tea. Mexican sausage Tacos!!

The wonderful intercessions from this morning’s service:

Almighty and everlasting God, you give gifts to all your people, you give us the power and ability to do what you would have us do
Help us to use the gifts you have given us for the benefit of others and to your glory and joy
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
Who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever, Amen.
Lord we come to you………..fill us with your joy.

We give thanks O Lord for all those who enrich our world with their talents and abilities,
We pray for those with the gift of healing and for all healing ministries,
We pray for those who are visionaries and those who plan our future,
May we all exercise the gift of discernment and distinguish the true from the false,
We pray for all who are preparing for marriage, for all who have recently fallen in love,
We remember homes where there is tension or estrangement and all homes where there is breakdown in relationships,

Lord who has given us this world and all that is in it, help us to use its resources properly.
That we do not waste now what should be saved for the future:
That the resources of the sea are husbanded and that fossil fuels are not wasted
We pray that we take care not to pollute the earth or our environment.
Bless all who seek to preserve and protect our natural resources
We pray for countries where crops have failed, whose harvest is poor, and for all who cope with life in desert places.

We rejoice, Lord that you delight in us and in all peoples.
You will not leave us desolate: you are God who renews and restores your creation.
We pray for those living amidst war, destruction, loss, famine and threat. We pray for the people of Libya, Syria, Yemen, for those in danger wo seek to escape to safer places and for those whose job is to find solutions to this tragic modern catastrophe.
Bless all of us and them, ours and their loved ones with your fullness:
renew and restore us all in strength and in love

Lord, we pray for all who have been made to feel inadequate or unwanted
For all who feel as if they have run out of energy or hope
For all who feel empty and whose faith is less certain
We remember the despairing, the despondent and all who feel utterly drained

We rejoice with all who have received of your fullness in your kingdom
All who have been restored and renewed by your love and saving grace
We pray now for those nearing the end of their life and for loved ones departed
We remember them now in our hearts and our minds, their love, their lives, their struggles and their joy…

Lord we come to you…………fill us with your joy.

Have a lovely evening

Yours aye