from Rev. Bruce Wood - July 2016

Published in News First — our monthly church newsletter  

I wonder if you know who this is?  My father was an aircraft engineer, and my mother was a science technician - they first met on a train.  As a child I wrote fantasy stories which I read to my sister - at school I was an ordinary student - in 1982 I took the entrance exams for Oxford University, but failed.

Over the next seven years my mother died, my first child was born, I was divorced from my first husband - and I lived on state benefits for many of those years.  I saw myself as a failure - I was diagnosed with clinical depression - I was as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.

My first job was as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International - where I conceived the idea for my book.  I submitted the manuscript to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected it.  A year later I was finally given the green light - and a £1500 advance - on which to live.  I am J. K. Rowling - author of the Harry Potter series of books. 

Without her persistence and her passion in the face of considerable odds, this series of books would never have been written.  She also talks about the benefit of failure, because it gave her the focus and the determination to succeed in the one area of her life where ‘I truly belonged’.

What are you passionate about?  What is it that when you see it, or hear about it, or someone else is talking about it - it grabs hold of you and won’t let go?  What images, or words, disturb your sleep, interrupt your thoughts, makes you weep?  What is it that your heart aches for? 

Each of us has something unique and important to offer, something that is crucial to the functioning of our family, our community, our church, and our world - something to contribute to the rich diversity needed in our community, and to the world in which we live.  Each of us has a God given giftedness that needs to be fed, and nurtured, and developed - and that’s where the persistence comes in.

Giftedness will only get us so far - the rest of the journey is determined by our persistence.  Nagging won’t get us very far - neither will yelling louder, or longer.  What will get us to our goal is persistence.  We have to put in the effort if we want results.  We are the ones who have to take the responsibility for our living, and our success.  In this case, the buck stops with us. 

However, when we do act from our giftedness, other people respond, because they can see that we have something going for us - something that brings us alive - something that produces energy and vision - something that is infectious, and a joy to watch, and to participate in.

Jesus says to us to “search and you will find” because in life, we benefit just as much from the searching and the failing - as we do from the finding.  It’s often in the process of searching, and riding the knock-backs, that we find the most value.  God would also say to us - keep on searching, keep on asking, and keep on knocking - be persistent, so that you find what it is that you are passionate about, what it is that you are gifted at - and then - share your gift with the community of which you are a part.

        Peace, Rev. Bruce Wood.