There used to be a time when I could enjoy the busy ministerial life just for itself but that time has gone. These days I find myself less and less able to travel without asking 'Where are we going?' Just to enjoy the ride is no longer enough - I've started looking out the window.
Many, seemingly unaware of the huge questions which face the Church today, suffer a kind of compulsive optimism which filters out the unpleasant, the challenging, and the contradictory.
As painful as it may be I want to understand and live in the realities of life and to encourage others to do the same. I want my feet to touch the ground, my watch set to real time.
There's a wonderful cartoon of an old man fishing from a jetty, blissfully unaware that all the water has gone - all gone. He can sit there for ever and he will never again catch a fish.
It does not matter that he is full of hope. It does not matter that he has caught many fish there in the past. It does not matter that he has the best rod and reel and the freshest bait. The water has gone!
Now he needs to find another spot, if he really wants to catch fish, and maybe another way of fishing.
If only he would open his eyes and look over the side of that jetty, but he doesn't .. he can't? .. he won't? .. Is he afraid?
What would happen if someone told our friend to look over the edge? Hey, mate! The water has gone! Wake up! You'll never catch any fish there!
My experience tells me that old man would not be grateful. I was happy. I lived in hope! You took away my peace! You changed my life! What am I supposed to do now?
In our diocese, parishes and schools there are so many things that need evaluating, fixing, updating, revising, building and demolishing!
So many things that used to work but no longer do - so many things to stop doing and so many things to begin anew!
One thing I have learned - it's much, much harder to stop doing something than it is to start something new!
So where should we begin?
How right Pope John Paul II was: Let us begin by contemplating the Face of Christ!