Letter from John Chryssavgis=
“The Cross is not ‘hope enough.’ It quite simply is! And it is ALL we need to know.
And in fact it is all we have.
But, Jamie, I have come to the conclusion that Nobody wants to hear that. Very few come close to saying that. Ironically, so many experience it. It is our only truth; the rest is crap.”
“You see, Jamie, people like to HEAR about rejecting consolations, etc. But when it comes to the crunch, it is hard for people to acknowledge that this rejection – the Cross – is in IN ITSELF the resurrection; that there is simply no other way.
But to acknowledge that, you really have to be broken into pieces; you really have to have given up everything, including hope of resurrection. You basically have to drown, even if you are holding a blue plastic bag. That’s when the shoe appears.”
My friend refers to an incident in Crete.
It was a stormy day, and my wife and I were on a wave swept shore. I was trying to shout over the wind, warning her not to drop her purse, as she stood a little way into the lapping water, but all this achieved was to distract her, so that she could do nothing to prevent the swirling water lapping at her feet from stealing away a blue beach shoe, which the waves carried out to sea.. Regretting having caused this, I dove into the water and swam after the retreating blue object, bobbing on the swell, and retreating ever further out into the bay.
I kept to the pursuit, swimming for all I was worth, to catch up.
I took no notice that, with the winds and the tides so heightened, I was soon far out in the bay, quite far from shore. The people standing there were little stick figures.. As I finally caught up with the blue object that I had slowly been overtaking, I realised two things= it was a discarded blue plastic bag full of rubbish, and I was probably several hundred yards from the shore. And I was totally out of breath..
Then I made a dispiriting discovery. My shortness of breath prevented me from breathing properly, and this in turn, prevented me from relaxing and floating. I kept going under the waves, as I gasped for breath. I had never realised how swimmers drown, but now that I was gasping for air, and could not stay afloat, I understood only too well.
I also understood there was no ‘intervention’ that could save me.. I had to disregard my breathlessness, and despite it, swim for shore. Bobbing up and down in one spot, I was actually beginning to drown.
With almighty curses uttered in the heart, I forced myself to swim. I made exertions on zero breath in my lungs. It was an effort beyond all effort, the effort that the will makes when all effort is impossible. This made me very angry, yet anger was part of the will that kept going despite being finished.
When I staggered out of the water and fell onto the sand, my wife was the only person left on the storm darkened beach. It took ages before I recovered my breath. We went up a hill..
Sitting in a taverna overlooking the angry sea, my anger had not abated. I was not grateful to have survived. I was fuming that I had to go to that extreme to survive.
The next morning, the storm had abated, and we went back down onto the shore. My sense of humour had not returned, but what I saw waiting for me as I strolled to the place where Myfanwy had got flustered in the waves, helped a little.
On a high rock set back from the strand, about ten feet above the ground, sat the blue shoe. It was upright on the rock, and sat there with an insouciant air, not a care in the world.
I finally started to laugh when retrieving it..