Photo courtesy of Jonathon Watkins www.photoglow.co.uk
Pretty much every year I have been to the Greenbelt Festival there has been a rainbow. Probably because it always seems to rain, but also because we usually enjoy some sunshine too. This year was no exception but it's been a while for me to realise how significant it was to me and even as I write this the story is unfolding.
There's a song called Thunder and Rainbows that is very dear to me, I wanted to share the lyrics on here and as I googled them came across a blog where a dear friend of mine had shared them with its author. That author had found them immensely helpful in the context of grappling with the aftermath of a friend's injuries following a motorcycle accident.
For those unfamiliar with the song here is an extract
The light or the shade, concealed or displayed
Enemies, friends, opposite ends
Bitter or sweet, ruffled or neat
Feathers or lead, silent or said
Generous or mean, corporate or green
Vagrant or lord, the dove or the sword
Distinct or obscure, prosperous or poor
Devil or saint, we are and we ain’t
Life’s secret code
On yellow brickroads
The question’s still “Why?”
Thunder and rainbows
From the same sky
The singer/songwriter is Martyn Joseph, (though I suspect Stewart Henderson had a lot to do with those lyrics too), and in a nice kind of full-circle irony I was privileged to interview him as part of Christian Aid's presence at the Festival. On stage in front of 400 people we chatted about his life, his work, his influences and the importance of joining the fight to end poverty and injustice.
Doing the interview was for me a huge turning point, as was even attending the Festival in the first place if I am honest. The previous week I had said to a colleague that I was "sh****ng myself" at the thought of going - not that I wasn't looking forward to it but the luggage, the train, the taxis, long days, standing in a field in wellies - well, let's just say there were a few things to be nervous about! At least camping wasn't on the agenda - just pitching Dave's tent and seeing him settled was enough. (Enormously proud of my 14 year old who attended and worked at the Festival pretty independent of me!)
Compering the stage in our venue is something I did years ago and enjoyed enormously. I was looking forward to doing it again this year but Friday evening before the first performance I was to be found at the side of the stage almost unable to breathe, feeling very sick and welling up. It was make or break time - if I'd run away as I felt like doing I'd have had to go underground for the rest of the Festival and cope with sympathetic looks and words from my colleagues. Instead I was grateful for those who held me firmly by the shoulders, looked me in the eye and said "you can do it".
And I did. I won't pretend it was easy but it got easier and the interview with Martyn on Monday afternoon as the Festival drew to a close was an absolute delight. Unscripted and impromptu he was warm, amusing, friendly and bang "on message".
So where does this bring us?
The lyrics ring very true, anyone who's followed this blog over the past year or so (thanks for sticking with it!) will know there have been plenty of thunder claps along with the rainbows. But making it to Greenbelt again, resuming my "old" role, interviewing Martyn and seeing again a GB rainbow all combined to say something ...
I've pretty much decided not to go for more surgery at the present time. Instead I hope to build on the confidence gained last weekend and as my contract comes to an end look for a new and exciting position with more responsibility and decision making. I'm determined to build up my fitness too - just walking the length and breadth of the festival village made me realise how exercise helps our mental well being. The rainbow, that song, the interview, all reminded me that there's a transcendence to life and much more of it to be lived.
Whoah - way too long a post. Apologies all - laters!