One of the contributors to a debate last night said that he'd been challenged recently that he was only making the decision with half his brain. Don't worry. It wasn't as scathing as that. It was simply a note that some people's decisions are emotionally led and others intellectually. It is good if we can register both sides. This person, responding to the question, said:
'I think it's right.
I feel it's right.'
Bang on. But not so easy for all of us.
How do you feel? The microphone is thrust under the nose of the sweating, victorious team captain who is asked to put feelings into words. Is it any wonder that 'over the moon' is the best that can be done with the English language in all its breadth and glory, at that stage?
I have a friend who, almost literally, seizes up when asked about his feelings. He doesn't engage with the world on a feelings level. At all.
I'm not so far behind. I don't find feelings particularly useful and rarely begin a sentence with 'I feel' unless I am deliberately choosing that language to engage with someone else. So how do I feel 'right now?' When I began drafting this I was sitting in a church meeting, awaiting the end of some discussions about details so we could get on to a vote about a big decision. I felt a little bored but by and large content. Perhaps weary.
Bored. Content. Weary. I don't find these words help me very much. None of them made the slightest difference to what I chose to do. However bad I might have felt, short of terribly ill, I wasn't leaving my seat. And having had the first word on this particular debate some nineteen months ago I was determined not to have any of the last ones but to let others report on their thoughts and feelings. I do find that a failure to get over-excited at small wins, or over-depressed at minor losses, stands me in good stead. 'Letting myself go' for goals, gigs and girl stops this being too pent-up.
I also get a little frustrated (there's a good 'feelings' word) at the repetition of feelings language. I don't find it hard to say 'I love you' but as a writer prefer to find new ways of saying things. There are more interesting traits than feelings. Or so I feel.
So there was this vision, 19 months ago, that needed chaperoning. I wouldn't swear to it but I think the first expression of it may have come from my lips. A vision to spend a huge amount of money buying a building the purpose of which God had not fully revealed. Still hasn't. I thought it was a good idea then. I still do. But now a Council of the Church has voted in favour of it with no-one against.
It will cost the equivalent of each member of our church finding £4,000 over the next couple of years which means a few sacrificial decisions. Something from our savings pot for a retirement property? Cancel a couple of holidays? Abandon the car? Donate all my writing royalties? Waive my expenses. That is the sort of order we are talking about.
I'm glad it wasn't simply led by feelings but, if I'm honest, it was even less than that. It was a hunch. Which became a vision. Which became a reality. Now I feel we must go to work. Think so too.
The Old Rectory Project is go.