If you have visited this blog before, you will possibly have noticed that it has changed its name – minutes, in fact, prior to this post being published. So why the name change? Well, a few reasons. Firstly, the original name – the best I could come up with when I put the site online – was taken by Nicholas Sparks several years ago and I don’t want to steal his thunder. Secondly, it struck me that the title of this site should be more reflective of what the site itself is about. Since I began posting here, I have found a recurring theme in the nature of my posts. Much of what I have posted here was written out of hardship. All of it reflects the hope and wisdom that can only be gained from the same kinds of hardship. That seems to be a fairly special and significant thing.
Then today I began reading a book which my housemate just bought, “The Consolations of Theology”, edited by the new principal of Ridley Theological College, Brian S. Rosner. The book begins with these words, written by American church historian Gwenfair Walter Adams:
Some of the world’s most powerful literature emerged in the nexus of enforced waiting, loneliness, deprivation, cold, hunger, and fear that has marked the arena, the dungeon, the tower, the jail. Over the centuries, many prisoners, when looking for comfort, turned to writing. (Adams, “Prologue: On Consolation”, in Rosner, ed. The Consolations of Theology, Eerdmans, 2008)
These words, as you can perhaps imagine, were particularly resonant for me. Now, I’m not going to suggest that writing in and of itself is a consoling experience. It can be, at times, quite the opposite, when the approach or motivation is wrong. But, when we write with our eyes, however weak, directed upwards to God, it can only ever be uplifting; and the experience of seeing hopeful words written when you know for a fact that you were far from hopeful when you wrote them: that can be one of the greatest consolations of all.