Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith



Seeing the unseen

Photo by Joey McCann

What you see is only possible by what you don’t see.

Wrapped in flesh is how we see each other.  It’s flesh that conceals and contains our organs and skeleton.  Imagine for a moment what it would be like to see a pumping heart or a digesting stomach when we looked at each other.  It is certainly best some things remain hidden, but not necessarily forgotten.

You body illustrates an important life experience.  Your life, as you see it, is made possible by what you do not see.  More importantly your life is interdependent on the lives of so many hidden significant others.

What is seen is only made possible by what is not seen. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Much of our world relies upon the hidden achievements of unseen people.

We buy bread each day with little thought about the bakers who rise at 3am to bake it.  Imagine for a moment what your world would look like if people suddenly stopped doing what they do today.  I wouldn’t like to imagine my world if you stopped doing what you do today.

If the garbage was not collected, if seed was not sown for harvesting fruit and vegetables we consume, if water treatment workers didn’t provide fresh water, if factory workers didn’t build the computer I’m typing with.

Our lives are so connected and we are in need of each other more than we realise.

So stop today: look at the stranger as they drive past, see the fellow passenger in the bus, or the person sitting near you at the café.  That person is connected to you.  Understand that if it wasn’t for them your life would be so much worse off.

Imagine the new depths of gratitude you could experience today if you started to see what you don’t see. 

See how important our lives are to each other.  Remember it takes a village!

A beating heart or a skeleton may be unseen but each is vital to survival in the flesh, as are the community of people we do life with. 

I think that if we could see behind the scenes, we may just live with a lot more gratitude for each other and the part we all play to live in community. “Thank you” may escape our lips a little more freely. 


Time to have your best year yet

I love watches.  I enjoy browsing the latest styles and checking antique shops for special designs.

The challenge of a watch is that it is circular, giving you the illusion that if you wait long enough this time will come around again.

The reality is that time is linear, in so much as it is more of a straight ongoing line, and it only moves forward, it does not stop and it does not replay.

As we are swept into this new year, time is something on many of our minds: we look back and we look forwards. But do we pause long enough to look at right now, this moment, this minute?

John Lennon wrote the lyrics:
“Before you cross the street take my hand.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

In the same vain, Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

In order to embrace this moment, I think we do need to stare time in the face, including what has been and what may come.

In one sense, we need to let go of the time that has passed, let bygones be bygones. In another sense, the past is not dead at all – it has shaped us and made us, to a certain degree, who we are. We must deal with the past effectively if we are to live in the present happily.

We should also take time to dream, consider and prepare for the possibilities of what the future may hold. The future can give us hope for a better tomorrow and the possibility for change, if we are careful about the time that can be planned.

Time that is now

Today is all we have: “now” is the acceptable time. Although we live in this present reality, are we attentive to this present moment?

One of the byproducts of being given a shortened life expectancy is that you try and slow time down by savouring experiences.  It makes you increasingly aware of the 1,440 minutes allocated to each of us per day.  I think I am now more present in the moment, taste my meals, listen more carefully and experience the beauty of the moment.

It’s the difference between just eating a strawberry, and tasting a strawberry.  I encourage you to taste the strawberries this 2014!

To have a successful new year, simply string together a chain of successful months.  To have a successful month, string together a chain of successful hours: a chain of “now” moments.  For now is the time:

  • to apologise
  • to forgive
  • to make a change
  • to give thanks
  • to encourage
  • to pray
  • to choose love

The best thing that we can do to honour our past and prepare for our future is to live with everything we have in the present. This is your “Now” moment!


Watching the fireworks at Nelson Bay New Year's Eve. My friend Bruce to the left and Lenore to the right.
Watching the fireworks at Nelson Bay New Year’s Eve. My friend Bruce to the left and Lenore to the right.

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