Tottering on Planks…by Philip Carter

Perhaps the greatest impediment to peace is a failure of nerve, a lack of imagination. What if we could hear the echo in the human heart of a vision which haunts and lures us – a vision which is the true source of life and its goal – a vision of a deeper communion?

The Australian poet, Kevin Hart, has written a little Haiku poem:

Each day forces us
to totter on planks we hope
will become bridges.

Those planks don’t seem much; for some they won’t be enough. Of course this little poem lacks the rhetoric of the quick fix, the easy answer. But the “planks we hope will become bridges” are real, and small, and within our grasp, and this image exposes an inner stubbornness, a resolute willingness to work with what is and at the same time to be captured by something more. Our future is beckoning, and it shapes us even more than our past.
Is it possible to let go of the self-defeating parables we too often tell ourselves, and to live out of and into the vision of a deeper communion?

I cannot be me without you
and we cannot be us without them,
and together we have a future.

Cited by Margaret Somerville in The Ethical Imagination. Journeys of the Human Spirit. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2006, pp.14-15.

Thanks to Greg Elsdon for passing on Phillip’s timely thoughts in his St Paul’s City Ministry Reflections.
Phillip Carter is the Director of the Julian Centre, an ecumenical, independent Christian centre for spiritual direction, healing and reconciliation, at 133A Henley Beach Road, Mile End.

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