Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Whatever Happened to the Dreamers?

So goes the title of one of the most haunting songs of 2006. Jack Savoretti sings of dreams lost, the decline of true visionaries ... and the hole that leaves in our world.

For many of us, our dreaming was snuffed-out at school or in education...

'Stop dreaming boy!'

'If you don't stop dreaming and get on with your work you'll be no-one; get nowhere!'

'Get real!'

'What good is it if I can't touch it?'

'In your dreams!'

And yet, more recent discoveries show the important of dreaming in our creativity ... and it also shows the paucity and severe crisis in business and education because the creatives just aren't there any longer. Intelligence isn't just about answering questions that are posed ... sometimes it's about looking beyond those questions to the root of the problem, making connections that weren't otherwise there, being creative, dreaming a little, from which the true life-changing solutions arise.

A good friend with whom I worked for a number of years had come into the Pharmaceutical Industry from being a professional dancer and lighting engineer: one of the rare people who worked both sides of the stage. Her ideas flowed like water and it wasn't long before she'd established links with doctors that had previously been unreachable. Sales started to increase BUT this wasn't the way our company worked! She was told to stick to our tried and tested methods. Eventually she left and started working for another company who allowed her to use her dreaming and creativity ... and surprise, surprise ... she's been the top sales representative consistently throughout 2007.

Suppressing dreams is not only fatal to our own development and fulfilment, it is also death to our businesses and society as a whole.

Thankfully, there is a re-converging of the arts and the sciences ... a broadening of the definition of intelligence, a broadening of co-operative projects where both fields benefit.

And what is the source of this Renaissance?

A resurrection of the dreamers!

I often wonder what would have happened if I'd followed my inclinations to dream. What would have been the impact on me, my family, my friends, my business, my self-perception, my insecurity .. my life.

Never give-up dreaming. Dream against the odds. Bring about change. Challenge the boundaries and see the changes!

[Rainbow After the Storm © Stuart Wood 2007]

Here are a few personal thoughts on dreaming ...


What would happen if we dared to dream;
If we dared to take God at His word;
Dared to hear His inner voice,
Often talked about, but seldom heard?

What would happen if we dared to dream;
Re-visit the visions laid dormant so long;
Dared to give space for each other to grow,
Rather than worrying about what may go wrong?

What would happen if we dared to dream;
Gave God space in our world every day;
Dared to live-out our faith with our friends;
Got our hands dirty; showed them a new way.

What would happen if we dared to dream;
That the world could be different, not as it is now?
It can! But it must start with you and with me,
Dreams will become reality, as God's love we show.

My Zimbio

Dr Who - Boxing Day?

I was sitting enjoying the Christmas special of Dr Who: Voyage of the Damned on the BBC last night. The Doctor was orbiting the earth on a cruise spaceship called The Titanic. People on this cruise were able to beam down to London, Earth, which was deserted (apart from the Queen and a newspaper seller) after last year's alien invasion.

(Quick aside ...Kylie Minogue also starred in the episode and no doubt many men were deeply envious of David Tennant (playing the Doctor) as he got a couple of opportunities to engage in an old custom i.e., kissing Kylie!)

Anyway, back to the storyline ... the guide for those visiting the planet was explaining some of the customs of Earth that he'd read about, fort this time they called Christmas ... a violent time when the race called people hunted, killed and ate the turkey people for dinner, and then the day after engaged in a violent sport called boxing, ...

... and at that point my mind started churning and musing.

I started thinking about how often I look at familiar or unfamiliar things; friendships, relationships, events etc and think I know about them, when in fact I am just like that guide: I'm miles off! Sometimes I can recover from my ignorance, but sadly, all too often my judgements have involved people with whom I had a friendship or relationship, and with disastrous consequences. I have listened to the here-say of others or what I've read in the papers etc and made a judgement based on these rather than finding out for myself. And in so-doing, I have hurt others and myself ... despite best intentions ... sometimes irreversibly.

I think at this time of year about my parents, both dead now. My father died just after Christmas in the mid 1980s and my mother on May Day in 2000. I was with them both as they passed away ... but particularly this year I miss them very much. I am acutely aware of what they invested in me (despite their faults and failings) and I feel a real sense of loss, yet also a real sense of gratitude that I was in the position of having parents who cared.

At this time of year I also think about the Christmas story ... about a God who loved his world so much that he was prepared to come and live amongst us as a human. And I think about how many people think they know the story, yet are miles out. And I think about all those people for whom the story is nothing more than a fable, soft and warm and fluffy, with no relevance today. And I think about his love that still makes it possible for me to survive my emotional turmoil, my mood swings, my highs and depressions because despite all of my rubbish, his love just keeps coming towards me. Nothing can stop it. It is unconditional (i.e., no strings attached).

I am grateful that I can enjoy a relationship with God through Jesus which confirms my value (I am one of the best at feeling undervalued!), which allows me to fail and yet is still waiting for me when I decide to return, and which celebrates with me in my good times and successes. As it says in His manual for life, 'Nothing can separate us from the Love of God.'

So, I hope that no matter how you feel this Christmas, you can take encouragement that God has no favourites and is there for each and every one of us ... and that fortunately, his dependability doesn't depend on us.

Here are a few thoughts on the subject ...


God's love becomes a pillow
To catch us when we fall.
God's love becomes a ladder
To help us over the wall.
God's love spreads like a blanket,
Protecting; safe; secure.
God's love, like fresh white driven snow
Is even, deep and pure.

God's love is our anchor,
Firm when the tempests rage.
God's love is a strong and solid rock
Which never changes with age.
God's love is a prickly thorn bush;
Close encounters can cause us pain.
God's love is a mighty waterfall;
Washing us again and again.

God's love is God's love,
To which our love cannot compare.
We need to take the risk,
Make sure it's God's love that we share.
Yes, God's love is God's love,
To which nothing can compare.
Unending; unchanging; unconditional.
This is the love we must share.

If you like this poem there are more thoughts and poems in my book 'Friendship is a Verb (in a hurting world)'

My Zimbio

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Christmas Day Celebrations

Happy Christmas. I'll start today with a short post of a poem written by my daughter when she was 9-years-old and which for her summed-up Christmas.

Christmas Day Celebrations

Christmas tree, such a lovely colour green,
The pot that it sits in, coloured a dark, rich cream.
Your baubles shine oh! so bright;
Your glamour and lights fight the dark night.
Looking after presents until Christmas day,
Standing so tall your own regal way.
The tinsel all different colours for decorations,
Enjoy every second of the Christmas celebrations.
Your tree trunk, the colour of dark fields,
And your star shines with the light of bronze shields.
The fake snow, which is really cotton wool
Covers your branches, to stop you looking dull.
Then Christmas day is clothed in snow,
And Jesus Christ was born, we know
He was laid in a manger, with no Christmas tree,
Born on this earth for you and for me

My Zimbio

Monday, 24 December 2007

Happy Christmas - Thorns & Straw

I love this time of year.

Sure, too many of us get caught up in the stress of presents, meals, latest gadgets, keeping up with the neighbours etc, but I always try to find somewhere quiet and think about what it is exactly that we celebrate.

I think about the amazing way in which God took time to visit us. Not only that, He didn't do it in the expected way ... you know, flashing lights, palace, royal family etc. He came to two unkowns, unnoticed amongst the hustle and bustle of people struggling to find somewhere to stay as they obeyed the decree of the emperor to return to their home town for a census.

And who got the news first? A bunch of renowned cheaters and thieves looking after their sheep ... and a bunch of obscure Eastern mystics who then took nearly 3 years to find the baby (now a boy).

And in the centre of this is a message that none of us is too insignificant to be missed by God, and each has the chance to bring what we have to Him and say 'Thank You!'.

Here are a few thoughts of my own on the first Christmas ... have a peaceful and blessed time this Christmas.


A back street stable in a crowded town.
Anguished screams; an occasional moan
Go unheard in the noise of a night
Of hustle and bustle, and rooms packed tight
With people, so busy and unaware
That a virgin's sweat means God is here.

No warm, cosy glow; only candle-lit straw.
A manger and oxen and filth on the floor.
No sweet smelling incense or soft comfy chair,
But cold stone walls; acrid smells in the air;
And the breath of animals to supply the heat,
In this hole in the rock on an unnamed street.

But God's not ignored the place that He's chosen
To visit as a baby, when the night air's frozen.
He treats some shepherds, the lowest of the low,
To front seat tickets at the greatest light show;
And singing and music like they've never heard before,
Which leaves them face down, shaking on the floor.

"Get up! Rejoice! For your king is here!
Run to the town and worship Him there.
Not in the palace so lofty and tall,
But lying in a stable, accessible to all.
So go! Take gifts and sing and feast,
For the mightiest God, has come down for the least."

And in palaces and castles hundreds of miles away,
A country's elite, at the end of the day
Study changes in the stars and heavens which bring
News, that on earth is born a king.
A king so great that creation bows down,
And brings its own offering, unseen in the town.

Their journey is long and filled with pain,
Across scorching deserts and rugged terrain.
As days turn to months and months to years;
Following the bright star whenever it appears.
Then rejoicing and thanks when at last they find
A small boy, just walking; the Lord of mankind.

With regal bows and language unknown,
They offer their gifts to Mary's son.
Gold, incense and myrrh; "What can I believe?"
His mother wonders as the visitors leave
To journey back east, their hearts on fire.
They've seen and worshipped the true Messiah.

And as years roll on by and the crowd's anger grows,
In reaction to this radical who constantly shows
That God has no favourites; our rules don't apply
To the values of heaven. "Crucify!" they now cry,
So He's crowned and beaten and then nailed to a tree;
This King, Priest and Sacrifice; thorns and straw set us free.

My Zimbio