There is a saying – wherever you go, there you are. And it is certainly true of father and son Robert and Jack, when they head off to Italy to sell the villa that belonged to Robert’s wife. Their relationship is not in the best of health, plus son Jack needs to sell this house because his marriage is crumbling and he is desperate to buy the art gallery where he works in London. So the two guys pitch up at the most dust-ridden and cobwebbed villa you can imagine, in the most glorious setting you can imagine. (It made me wonder whether it’s just us Brits who have a fascination with stories about nipping off to warmer climes to do things up.) And so, as they do battle with this behemoth of a property (complete with a massive angst-ridden red mural which Robert painted after he lost his wife) so they do battle with each other. There is much that has not been said over the years, and perhaps, as they splash paint about and extricate a hissing weasel which has taken up residence in the waterless bathroom, this will be the chance they need to truly talk. Sometimes having something else to focus on can be the release mechanism for a little more honesty. I recall attending a writing workshop a few years back and hearing this enlightening piece of wisdom re constructing dialogue – people never really say what they mean. Later I came across another thought on writing, behind every sentence written (or spoken too, I guess) there are five more lines unsaid. So much goes on beneath the surface of our regular living. We do our best to appear in control, though we may well be floundering beneath the surface. This is where Jesus seems to excel with people. Reading between the lines. He could hear what was really being said in the banter and the small talk and the arguments. He understood the longings and fears tucked between the clichés and weather-talk. And still does. We can pray anything, no need to dress up our presentation or find the right words. Just talk.
I regularly post creative pieces which help folks connect with the Bible in a contemporary and down-to-earth way. Please feel free to make use of them if they inspire you. I also post daily short thoughts on Twitter and have produced a variety of books, most of which draw on the Bible.