Now Face North*

I was in the Brownies as a child and one of the things I remember from those days was Pocket Inspection. My Boys’ Brigade lads nowadays have it easy in comparison as all they require in their pockets is a hanky; in Brownies there was quite the list in addition to that:

• Notebook and pencil
• 2p for a phone call
• String
• Triangular bandage
• Safety pin
• Compass

It’s a good job we had big pockets!

But the thing I loved was that little compass.

The way the needle hovered, wobbled, yet unerringly and stubbornly pointed in one direction to show us where north was in our church hall – it felt like both magic and security to me.

My dad had bought it for me and it came in its own neat case. It was testimony to our joint love of map reading and astronomy. And it made complete sense to me that, despite living in London, should I ever get lost in the middle of some great woods or moorland, that compass was what would see me safely home. Although I smugly thought that it would be unnecessary at night because I knew how to locate the North Star instead!

I guess these are the things you need to plan for when you’re nine.

Several decades on, I find that I still need a compass:

When worries, real and potential, pull my thoughts in every dizzying direction.

When regrets, like a smarting Siren’s calls, twist my face backwards.

When complex considerations tangle my mind into a stranglehold of indecision.

This time, my compass isn’t found in a little case in my pocket.

It’s found in a moment of stillness, a lingering out breath, tuning into birdsong and wind-dance, plant-watching and sun-on-skin sensing. It’s found in stopping and letting go, sinking back into God’s arms. It’s found in prayer, taking my eyes off me and my world and turning them to Him, finding there His perspective is waiting for me.

And as I turn my mental compass to match the needle pointing to His North, I find I know which way is forward again.

*Recognise the title? It’s thanks to/stolen from these guys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLaSXpqp__E

Joining the wonderful Five Minute Friday community of writers. Find more inspiration on this week’s prompt word FORWARD here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2020/05/21/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-forward/

12 thoughts on “Now Face North*

  1. When I was but a little one,
    my pockets held quite little;
    some string and a stick of gum,
    and, oh, yes, a pistol.
    The world I lived was rather big,
    and all that world’s a stage
    for the vicious stalking-pig
    who needs be in a cage.
    But the grown-ups, way back when
    felt that they had a privilege,
    and thus I learned a kind of Zen
    that took me to the bitter edge
    of saying, “Doesn’t matter why,
    but mess with me, prepare to die.”

    Like

  2. “It’s found in a moment of stillness, a lingering out breath, tuning into birdsong and wind-dance, plant-watching and sun-on-skin sensing. It’s found in stopping and letting go, sinking back into God’s arms. It’s found in prayer, taking my eyes off me and my world and turning them to Him, finding there His perspective is waiting for me.” The reality that any or all of these steps could be engaged in, in any given moment and produce the result of sinking into God’s arms and finding His perspective is deeply comforting. So beautifully written. Thank you for this post. Visiting from FMF.

    Like

  3. Aahhhh….this imagery! I felt like I was a nine year old in London, treasuring the compass gift of my father! I was immediately catapulted to a full sun-bath, drinking in the joy of a moment of stillness. This was exquisite and so simple and delicious! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.