Finding a Way
Kindle Direct Publishing 2021, 114 pages
Author of A World of Difference; Why Are You Here Elijah? and A Long Time to Wait! Ascension – Heaven on a Cloud, Wally Stratford takes us, this time, deeply into a serious reflection on our life journeys. He brings his nearly 90 years of observing human behaviour and our encounter with Earth and Spirit into sharp focus that many, including myself, may not have thought about. It is a narrative that invites us to review our existence beyond the material and engage more closely with a ‘presence’ in our own way and which offers possibilities limited only by our imagination.
This is a reflective work that inevitably draws the reader into thoughts about their own life journey. Walter Stratford brings a lifetime experience of working pastorally with people and his observations are sensitive and enlightening. He reminds us that ‘life is a gift’ endowed with a great variety of senses and brilliant features.
This is an honest admission that we don’t and can’t know where life’s journey is taking us, but the journey is important physically and emotionally. The author openly declares to not knowing where his journey is taking him but that this is a crucial part of the narrative. He offers a helicopter view of life in all its good and bad features including an overview of the history of humankind’s journeying as opening up the world.
Crucial to his thesis is how he demonstrates that our journeys are linked to ‘the spirit of presence and mystery’. Just as we all breath the air we can share the same presence. Seeking meaning is a way of life that is similar to seeking direction from this presence. This is done by engaging with the mystery of life and doing that we have much in common with each other despite the vast differences in experiences, whether they be pandemic, wars, genocide, refugee struggles or a comfortable existence.
The journey of the Church has been dulled for many by the lack of possibilities, locked out by tradition and affirmed doctrine:
When security looms large in the mind of authority, additional laws make for greater restriction. Imagination moves to the rear and literality and fundamentalism come forward (p29).
Possibility thinking, imagination and open mindedness are tools that make the journey worthwhile and rewarding:
The traveller who has grasped possibility has no need of a penultimate place (p56). Instead, it is a journey seeking the heart of God along the way. So, it is ultimately a challenge to choose a life of compassion, a life mixed with excitement and trepidation with a healthy life that recognises the value of Jesus’ way and then practicing that way and affirming the value in every human life and the value in all having sufficient and being satisfied (p40). This carries with it a commitment to justice and reconciliation.
The book ends with a reality check acknowledging the dark shadows that crowd in on many lives for part or all of the journey, but imagination allows the journey to somewhere always to be open to possibilities. The final summing up and thoughts on our ‘somewhere’ are for the reader to discover and give support to my feeling that this has been a very worthwhile read.
Paul Inglis 13/12/21
How to purchase: from Amazon Australia, Paperback – $14.90 + postage; Kindle $4.90