Brief plug…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on January 7, 2009 by Phil Alcorn

Not something I commonly go in for, plugs, but I believe this merits some attention…

Some of you may know that amateur photography is a hobby of mine… and there are a few people whose work has inspired me immensely as I muck around with my own photo-taking. A friend of mine, and fellow blogger, Connor, is one of those people. Personally speaking, I find his work outstanding, and seeing as he has just released a new photo book of photographs of his travels from around the world, I thought I’d give him a wee plug. There are some stunning shots contained within, and if you’re a coffee-table photo book kinda person (or even if your aren’t!) you should definitely check it out…

As an additional point, he does photoshoot sessions (portraits, family portraits, engagement shoots etc…) – check out his work on his website.

Advertisements

Hope, still under examination…

Posted in christianity, confused with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2009 by Phil Alcorn

I’m never really sure how to start. I’m almost certain I have said this before, most likely many times. However, I’m also tired enough right now that I’m not going to bother going back to check. But it is true, I’m never really sure how to start off one of these blog posts…

Billy Connelly has the same problem, seemingly. He says the middle of the show is fine, whatever happens happens, but the start… the start is much harder to work out. Dylan Moran is the same, to name one of my absolute favourite comedians… within the first four minutes of his quite epic stand up show ‘Monster’, he tells us that he never really spends a great deal of time on ‘hello’. It’s one of those portals of conversation, he says, that people get very freaked out about… because you can use ‘hello’, and then you’re on your own. You have started something, you have engaged in dialogue in some way with another person, and you are now expected to make their attention worthwhile…

But alas, I am becoming side-tracked… although I am rather glad that I have now succesfully, with the aid of that little anecdote, managed to begin this post. We are now past the start… the pressure has lifted a little…

Now, looking back, it is now approaching four months since I last posted anything on this blog of mine. In that time, I have written two drafts which have gone unpublished. In the seven months PRIOR to my last post, I made a measly ten posts (if memory serves me correctly). I also believe that it was within that seven month period, although I could be wrong, that I undertook a slight blog redesign, giving it the title ‘Hope’ and changing the general layout. ‘Chasing the light’, looking back, actually held deeper meaning for me at that time (and still does) than I think I realised even then… even the site redesign of a much darker background and a picture of lights in the night seem to resemble the journey I was embarking on, a journey through dispair and pain, a journey chasing after the light in the distance…

I am aware that sounds perhaps a little overdramatic… but when I think about it, where I have come over the past year, where I have visited on this journet, I have been to some pretty dark places… places within myself, where at times I very nearly lost hope. I’m not saying that what I went through was more serious than any of the struggles faced by any amount of people on a daily basis… I am well aware that there or people out there who have dealt with and daily deal with problems far greater than were I have been… but still, suffering is all too real for the one experiencing it…
And some of you reading this may have noticed this in me when we interacted in the non-cyber world in the past year… and again, some of you may not. But hopehope has been an idea that has been driving me for a long time now. Even in the times when I feel like I nearly lost it, it was still shining its light for me to follow, to chase, to pursue…

This post is not about what happened to me over the course of a year. It’s amazing just how much can happen in just one year… things have happened in the the past 12 months that have been absolutely awe-inspiring, total high times… and there have been things that have been pretty low. And throughout everything, throughout the times of light and the times of dark, the shining hope has never gone away. Sometimes I wandered away from it, and it took other people to point me back in the right direction… some people have done that for me more times than they can know… almost like they were my ‘spiritual sat-nav’, though I doubt I have ever truely told them just how much they have meant to me…

That kinda got away from me a bit… but I will leave it in. Some things never change, and I still don’t like deleting parts of posts… it just doesnt fit my haphazard style! Anyways, like I said, hope has been a subject under a lot of examination by me over the past while. Even when I didnt realise it, the subject of hope was still invading my life, still turing up in the oddest places, in the most subtle of ways… and in doing so, it has made me think all the more about my own journey toward hope… about what hope truely means, at least for me. You see, hope is defined as confident expectation in the Encyclopedia Britannica. But, isn’t it the nature of all things to have an opposite? Light and dark. Black and white. Faith and doubt. Love and hate (or is it apathy?). Hope… and despair. But then, is dark truly an opposite of light, or merely a absence thereof? Is black an absence of white? Doubt an absence of faith? (with love, we perhaps are not sure whether apathy or hatred fits the bill here, but that is a question for another time). And so, is despair not an absence of hope?

Two days ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to ‘thunks’. Seemingly they are questions which on the surface seem ordinary, trivial… but questions which, when thought about, can make you stop in your tracks and really ponder. Now, that is probably a horrible definition, seeing as I’m going from memory, but you get the general idea… Anyway, it was from this discussion on thunks that she sprung me with a question that has been circling my mind for a long time now: ‘To understand happyness, do we need to have experienced sadness?”

That question, or one very similar, has not only been on my mind for a long time, it has also been infiltrating my life in ways I never expected. Allow me to explain…

Heroes is a television show I fell in love with as soon as I started watching it. It is the secret (or not so secret) dream of every guy, I reckon, to be the hero… every childs secret wish to have superpowers of one sort or another. I mean, think about it… from when we were no age, we have grown up with the teaching that there are heroes and villains. The comic books we read when we were younger, the childrens stories we were told as we headed off to sleep… the TV shows we grew up watching, the movies we went to see, even the stories we were taught in Sunday School (if we went) taught us there were heroes and there were villains (though I find it interesting how in children’s accounts of bible stories, we never hear about the darker side of our heroes lives… with the exception of Jesus, every other bible character has a history we never seem to be told in Sunday School – David is a prime example!). Movies like Aladdin, The Lion King, Fern Gully… TV shows like Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Transformers, Thundercats, Bucky O’Hare… Comic book heroes like Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman… all these things taught us there were people who were good, and people who were bad. It was so clear, so black and white, so easy to understand… it wasn’t until we started growing up that we saw all the different shades of grey colouring our world. One of the first places it became evident for me was actually within myself… knowing what is good, and what is bad, and feeling this intense struggle, this intense battle between the two fighting within… the battle between good and evil, light and dark… black and white… and, inevitably, my actions came out grey. Sometimes I was good, and often I was bad… contrary to what media had taught me in my youth, I was neither a hero of justice nor a supervillain… I was caught annoyingly between the two. Neither hot nor cold… lukewarm, one of the very things the church in revelation was rebuked for…

Now, back to Heroes. Although a truely fantastic show, it too fell into the stereotype in its first two seasons. By the end of season one, we had seen two main characters develop and emerge into the world. One, the hero – standing for justice against all odds, a heart full of love (even his power is based off his ability to empathise with people), overcoming personal doubts and pain to stand for what is right and good and to defend his fellow man. The other, the villain. A character of true malice, of evil, acting out of a thirst for power and significance in the world around him… Light, and dark. Black, and white.

Jump forward to season two, and although situations have changed, the premise remains the same. Our villain, although now powerless, is still exploiting those around him, still murdering, still hunting to regain his power, his significance. Our hero, although technically fighting on the wrong side for a while, is still following after the cause of good, the pursuit of justice. And even then when he is helping the wrong side, it is because he has been tricked into doing so – still believing he is fighting on the side of good, of the side of the light. Yes, Heroes was at this stage still following along to the media status quo.

Jump forward once more, and we are in season three. At the time of writing this post, we are actually only halfway through the season, but the point I hope to make from it is clear from the first few episodes. To avoid spoiling any more of this fantastic series than I already have for those who have yet to see it, I will say only one thing about season 3… the lines become blurred. Black and white becomes a very realistic shade of grey… characters discover within themselves a disturbing truth, one which actually became the title of one of the episodes of the season… they discovered within themselves a duality. The potential for good, and for evil. The ability within themselves to perform acts of utmost heroism, and utmost evil. Essentially, our heroes and villains became humanised… we finally saw in these characters lives the truth which lies in each of us – we are grey.

And when I saw this happening in Heroes, it genuinely shocked me… I loved it, absolutely loved it, but it did shock me… that this theme of duality, of light and dark, ofhope and dispair had followed me all the way to one of my favourite TV programs! And it is still following me, coming up again in the conversation with my friend which I already mentioned… and so to return to that conversation, I now pose that question to you. To understand happyness, to we need to have experienced sadness? To understand hope… to we need to have experienced despair?

There is so much more I would like to say on the topic… I really clould go on and on, listing more examples from my life and friends lives which centre around this very question… but I’m not going to. This is already turning into one of, if not THE longest post of this type I have ever written on here. So instead, I shall finish with, in the way of Jerry Springer, a final thought. I mean, with all this thinking on hope, you also have to ask what the point is. What I mean is, you have to ask what the point is in thinking about hope to begin with… I like to believe hope still has a large part to play in this world. With the world in the state it’s in, with so much of the worlds population below the poverty line, the economic crash, the war in Israel and Gaza… I firmly believe that hope, the hope that Christ preached, can make a difference in the world today. But for those of us who try to help show that hope, perhaps this question that has come up for me time and again is even more significant than we thought. Surely to help people, we need to see things from where they are. To help people, dont we need to stand with them, in the onslaught of fear and pain and despair? To point them in the direction of hope, don’t we need to understand where they are? To truely appreciate all that hope is and what it can do… don’t we need to understand how far it brings us?

For now, I am going to sleep… it is very very late at night right now. But, please, do ponder that with me… and please, do share your thoughts.

Love…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

…is the reason for the change… …is the reason i have strength, have courage… …ultimately, is God. And that’s all that’s needed.

Keeping a record…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

For most of you, I’m afraid this post will make no sense… however, it is the best place at the moment for me to be recording these thoughts, dreams and ideas that are to follow, as by posting them here the relevant people can see and remember the important bits…

Sorry if that, or the following, makes no sense to you.

Boardroom meeting. Chairman says, “Dont forget about Evangeline” or “Remember Evangeline” or something like that.
Evangeline: Good news; bearer of good news  -> is this the meaning of ‘Evangeline’ in the above situation?
Dream occured during second semester term time, year 07/08

Big tent appeared from nowhere at Castlewellan castle, seen from castle car park. Situated roughly in front of lake, to the right of small Lake car park. Tent bright, like light, though not lighting area around it, and not dazzlingly bright. Disappeared when attempt made to photograph it.
Occured before easter, during second semester term time, year 07/08

“Sometimes dreams teach…”
Message received after easter, during second semester term time, year 07/08

Brother views scene, feels as though viewing it from a rear view mirror. Man walks up a street, in the road. Night-time, pouring rain, man has his hood up. Crowd lines each side of the street, watching man. One individual in crowd, a man, seems particularly angry. Man walking up the road falls to his knees. Another man enters, places his hands on the fallen mans shoulders, and whispers in his ear.
Dream occured during summer following second semester, year 07/08

Darkness all around, except for people dressed as soldiers standing in a circle of light, colour and grass, all facing outwards towards the darkness. The boundary is marked by a bright line. The line grows outwards, and more area becomes light, green and alive. The soldiers step forward to occupy the new area, stopping when they reach the new boundary. The boundary grows again, the soldiers advance again. Scene seen almost like the creation of Narnia as described in ‘The Magicians Nephew’, and the soliders occupy the new area retrieved from the darkness
Picture received one night in prayer time at late love at fisherwick, end of year 06/07 or start of year 07/08

“I saw a ruined city, nothing but rubble, destroyed buildings and fires. In this ruined city were people; people with dirty faces, broken bones, wounds and sores and with a look of pure sadness about them. Beyond the city was sheer darkness; as if the people in this ruined city were surrounded by a sea of night. They were afraid of the darkness, almost as if hid from their view a tide of demons ready to break against the ruins and sweep away those who remained.  Inside the city, however, there was a change.  One man sat looking towards the darkness.  As he sat he heard the sounds of change… the sounds of revolution.  In broken buildings secret crowds started to gather… started to move.  Some came together in worship.  Each of their faces told a different story:  some stories of pain from the past, some of hope for the future and some just stood with hands aloft in adoration.  Others gathered to mull over an ancient text.  They studied words of scripture, letting it permeate each and every one of their thoughts.  They read it together and were filled with joy at the good news of which it told.
From the rubble of the city the people got up and started to move purposefully towards the darkness, like an army ready to attack. Then I saw the reason. The people emerging from the city were backed by an Army of Angels. I heard a voice sing “maybe redemption has stories to tell” and on those notes the people and the Army of Angels started to run, like a charge had been sounded against the darkness. Then the music stopped and the voice just cried ‘salvation is here.’  Time slowed down, like the people and the Army of Angels were bracing themselves for when they broke upon the darkness. Then time stopped altogether.”
Named the ‘Dare you to move’ dream

“the world is screwed up. thats a fact
its one big rotating mass of deceit, violence and storms
lightning rips through the skies of human existence, evidence of the storms raging within every life
the torrential dounpour of hatred, racism, intolerance, of INDIFFERENCE, beats down upon me

i look down at what ive become
a victim of society
a statistic of the state
just another passer by on the boulevard of mediocrity

my lips speak of a light my life can hardly show

whilst the world tears itself apart into darkness
whilst the ‘martyrs’ breed wars of hatred and revenge
whilst the west walks the road paved with indifference and apathy
i find myself trudging through the endless mediocrity that my life has become

the rain still pours down upon me
the lightning still flashes above
and from within the pits of my dispair and self-loathng at what i have let myself become, i finally see it

the figure, standing in the midst of the raging storms of self-doubt and destruction
he stands on the streets, in the secret world of peoples hearts
standing on the boulevard of broken dreams, of broken bottles, of tears that well up in the darkness of the private moments
the alleyway of pain
the arena of self-destruction
the backyard of apathy
standing barefoot among the rocks and glass

the rains of doubt and dispair beat against his body
a torrential downpour surges over him
but he does not become wet
he does not absorb it
he does not drink it in

the winds of indifference, of apathy, of fear and of impatience tear past him
but he is unmoved

the lightning of disruption sears open the sky above him
but he stays focused on those around him

i see him now, standing amidst the darkest of the worlds dark, the most agonising of the planets pains
he looks up at me, tear-stained face and puffy eyes revealing his pain for the suffering around him

then he smiles

and i see all that ive become, all that i am – and realise i fall hideously short
but in that same moment, rain pummeling against my body, wind tearing against me, i see something else
i see what i can be

i see me in pain, i see me weeping, i see me battered and bruised, i see me ridiculed and rejected

but not for self pity, not over myself

i see myself in pain, all those things
for him
for his world
as he is in the world, amidst its darkest dispairs, sharing its greatest pains, but is not OF the world, not DEFINED by the world
so too i can see my potential for such a position

the smile…

raises me from my stupor
the rain beats harder
the wind tears stronger
the lightning flashes hotter
and he is beside me

‘come… my strength i give to you, with my light i fill you…
come… this is your path… take up your cross, and follow me…’

i can feel it now
the opposition grows stronger
the apathy fighting to control me grows more intense
the rain, the wind, fight to keep me in place

but he is with me
the road before me is no easier
the rocks and glass do not disappear
the storm does not ease
but together… we take a step forward…”

Written two years ago at time of posting

Related? Unrelated? Meaning?

I have faith…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

I hope this isnt a misleading title… I didn’t name this post with any idea or plan on how this post was going to turn out. That being said, I must stress that this is not one of my attempts to just write a post without plan or care, and see what comes out. No, I am writing this post for a reason, a reason I don’t understand just yet. I am writing this post because, tonight, I feel I must. God, I believe, is leading me to post something tonight. I’m not saying it’s going to be spectacular, or breathtaking, or profound – i expect nothing of the sort, I am merely saying that whatever this post becomes shall be simply a result of my having faith that God wants me to post tonight.

I have been talking tonight with a guy who has become much more than a friend to me… he has been my guide, my teacher, my encourager, my companion… he is my brother. He has been with me this year, through my highs, and through my lows… he has listened to my ramblings, my deepest secrets, my theories on life, my theological ideas… he has shared in my joys and my griefs alike, been with me on the nights when I need an adventure, the nights when I need to vent, and the nights when I simply need a friend. We have walked together, taken photos together, driven together, prayed together, praised together, questioned together, eaten together, postulated together, laughed together, cried together, stood together and kneeled together. And God has led us, together, along a road I don’t understand…

I have posted before about Belfast, but not often. I can’t recall if I have ever spoken about my dreams for this place, dreams which my brother and I have shared. God has led us along a road this past year, a road that leads somewhere… though where the road ends, I cannot tell you. I cannot tell you, because I simply do not know. All I know is that God has big plans for Belfast, for this city… and God has been leading my brother and I along a road of preparation. We havent always understood the journey, or the steps along the way… We may now have more questions and fewer answers than we started with… But God has been leading us here, and leading us here for a reason. We have both grown along the way, and have both helped each other to grow. I don’t know how much longer we will continue on this road together. I dont know where this road ends, for one or both of us. I dont know if I am ready to continue along this road without him, without my friend, my brother, my companion. I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that coming this far with him has been an honour. Without him, I would not have gotten to this stage. Without his constant support, his prayers, his listening ear and his caring heart, I would not be where I am now…

Dude, you know who you are. And I want to say thank you. Thank you for eveything you have done for me, and with me. Thank you for everything I have written here, and everything I havent. I love you, my brother, and I hope and pray God will bless me by allowing our journey together to continue… but even if he doesn’t, know this – friendship may be unstable, but brotherhood is forever.

Random amusement… yet oddly appropriate…

Posted in funny, personality, randomness with tags , , , on July 11, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

I’m aware I haven’t posted in a while… It isn’t that there hasn’t been blogworthy news, quite the opposite in fact… it’s just that I’m not really sure what to say about it all…

There is, however, another post on the way. In the meantime though, this was todays edition of a webcomic I’m kinda partial to… I found it oddly relevant to my own life…

Now, as for me, is my body clock east or west of where I live???

Now, as for me, is my body clock east or west of where I live???

Hope, track 7…

Posted in christianity, creative, Foy Vance with tags , , , , on May 20, 2008 by Phil Alcorn

The street was alive with people. Old and young, male and female, everyone bustled about their daily business. The sheer busyness of the place was almost tangible, like a fog that hung in the air, blinding those below it to the existence of anything but the task in hand. The cacophony of sounds that is life in the city centre only served to add to the mayhem. Shop doors opened and closed, engines growled as the cars and buses flew past, ignorant of the pedestrians crossing the street… Snippets of conversations, cries of newspaper sellers, blaring of horns… This was it, this was life in the mainstream.

The man sat quietly in a recess in the wall. Though his legs stretched out into the street in front of him, he was in no danger of being trodden on. He often liked to think of this place as his home… after all, it was where he sat, where he slept, where he lived and breathed and hoped and dreamed. Yes, he liked to think of it as home. It made it easier to believe that the people purposefully walking by the kerbside were not avoiding him, but merely respecting his space. After all, he would never dream of taking a stroll through their living rooms, would he?

With his arm outstreched and his hand open, palm up, it was clear to see this vagabond had not washed in some time. His fingers were grubby and weathered, the rest of his hand hidden by a pair of worn fingerless black gloves. A green jacket hung on his narrow shoulders, over an old wollen jumper. His jeans were torn at the left knee, and had at one time been a bright blue. An old white pair of trainers and a red woollen hat completed his get-up, with his face placed his age as being somewhere mid-thirties. His scruff of a beard, existent more by lack of shaving equipment than an intentional accessory, was a dark ginger, contrastic starkly with his hat. His eyes, green as a fir tree in winter, now watched each person that hurried by, too busy to stop. He watched, trying to make eye contact, trying to catch someone off guard, trying to stir up within people that feeling of sympathy and guilt that wouldn’t let them just walk by and ignore him… though by this stage, it was clear to see from the vacant resignation in his gaze, that he had all but given up on these people. They wouldn’t stop for him, he knew. To them, he was no more than another homeless guy, another figure to be avoided on this busy street, another person worth less than the task at hand. You see, they just think he’s going to take their money and then go and spend it on dope…

A young woman dressed in a navy trouser suit hurried past with a briefcase, looking with great intensity at something across the street that seemed to have just caught her intention. The vagabond sighed slowly to himself. No, he thought, these people didn’t understand… how could they? In the busyness of day to day city centre life, one can’t afford the time to stop and consider the complexities of life of a homeless person… after all, everyone has their own life to lead, why stop and think about the life of another?

Time passed, almost as fast as the people. The vagabond continued to look out at his fellow inhabitants of the city, his mind contemplating that great unsolved phenomenon… So often these days, he found himself thinking about it, of how despite being in the middle of such a crowd, how huge the feeling of lonliness can become. So engrossed was he, in fact, in analysing his own seeming non-existence in this world, his own isolation in a world of company, that he didn’t notice the man who had stopped by his side. No, he didn’t notice him at all, not until the first words were spoken…

A thoroughly unremarkable individual in terms of appearance, this visitor had seemingly arrived from nowhere. Dressed in an ordinary pair of combat trousers and a green t-shirt, he crouched down beside the vagabond, and spoke softly in his ear. The surprise on the vagabond’s face was immediate, turning his head to view this new arrival in bewilderment. The visitor continued to speak, his smile beaming out from his face. Indeed, even his eyes betrayed the happiness he seemed to feel feel inside, shining out and seeming to laugh along with the words he was speaking. After a good number of minutes the visitor, still talking, saw the first few tears forming on the vagabond’s eyes. The look of shock had never left his face, almost as though it was a mask, an emotion frozen in time. The visitor stopped talking for a moment, knowing the vagabond was about to cut in…
“Why?” His gruff voice cracked a little, as the first tear rolled down his cheek, into the wiry strands of his beard… “Why? Look at me, can’t you see what I am, where I am? I lost my job, my family and friends have disowned me… God can’t love me. I’m a lost cause…”
He felt the hopelessness rising up within him once more… Unable to continue, he merely sobbed quietly into his hands. The visitor watched on, the compassion in his eyes so tangible it seemed to almost flow out of him… stretching out an arm, he placed a hand on the vagabond’s shoulder, and gently squeezed. He opened his mouth one final time, and spoke in the same soft, uplifting voice as before…
“Be at peace, my child… Salvation is here today.”

**************************************************

The street was alive with people. Old and young, male and female, everyone bustled about their daily business. The sheer busyness of the place was almost tangible, like a fog that hung in the air, blinding those below it to the existence of anything but the task in hand. The cacophony of sounds that is life in the city centre only served to add to the mayhem. Shop doors opened and closed, engines growled as the cars and buses flew past, ignorant of the pedestrians crossing the street… Snippets of conversations, cries of newspaper sellers, blaring of horns… This was it, this was life in the mainstream. But something was different, something had changed… people were stopping, turning around in the street. The homeless guy, the one everyone tried to ignore, the one who sat quietly in his recess day after day was standing up and shouting out to the world around him…

“Hallelujah!” he cried, “Hallelujah!” Tears were rolling down his face, as unhindered as his shouts. Looking around at the people stopping around him, he continued to call out…
“Hallelujah! Everyone, listen! This man, this man… There’s someone here you gotta meet! Someone you just gotta meet…”

He whirled around, pointing to where the visitor was stood. He looked once more into the face of his new friend, into those compassionate eyes. That same warm smile broke out on the visitor’s face one more time… and he was gone. The vagabond looked in amazement for a few seconds at the spot which had just been emptied of the visitor’s presence, before whirling around again, trying to see where he had disappeared to. Turning on the spot, looking wildly around himself, the crowd began to laugh. He looked up at them, unable to make out their faces now, his vision blurred by the tears still streaming down his face. He stumbled forward, into the crowd itself, still looking for the visitor. He barely noticied the jeers and taunts, the laughter of those around him as he pushed his way down the busy street. Eventually, the people around him continued about their business, losing interest in this clearly delusional man…

Onward he walked, looking around him, wiping away the tears with the sleeve of his jacket. As his vision cleared and he scanned the faces around him, he saw a young woman sitting on the ground, back against the window of a fast-food shop. She was well dressed, wearing a pair of blue designer jeans and expensive looking brown leather boots. Her red shirt was buttoned up just so far as to be a little revealing, and her long, straight black hair had obviously been styled. The vagabond watched as she pulled her knees in towards her, hugging her legs as she stared the the pavement before her. He saw the people hurry past her, not noticing the single tear escape her eye… sympathy welling up inside him, the realisation of all that had happened suddenly hit home. Abandoning his search for the visitor, the search he now knew was fruitless anyway, he walked up to the girl, taking a seat on the ground next to her. She didn’t seem to notice him at first, not until he spoke…

**************************************************

The street was alive with people. Old and young, male and female, everyone bustled about their daily business. The sheer busyness of the place was almost tangible, like a fog that hung in the air, blinding those below it to the existence of anything but the task in hand. The cacophony of sounds that is life in the city centre only served to add to the mayhem. Shop doors opened and closed, engines growled as the cars and buses flew past, ignorant of the pedestrians crossing the street… Snippets of conversations, cries of newspaper sellers, blaring of horns… This was it, this was life in the mainstream. But something was different, something had changed… people were stopping, turning around in the street. The homeless guy, the one everyone tried to ignore, the one who sat quietly in his recess day after day was standing up and shouting out to the world around him… and a girl was with him, some new friend he seemed to have found. The two of them were stood in the street, crying out to those around them…

“Hallelujah! Hallelujah! There’s someone here you we have found!”

**************************************************

The sun was setting as the vagabond walked down the gradual hill towards his destination. He said a little prayer, just to give thanks to God for the view which he beheld; the valley sides illumiunated by the tawny-orange hue of sunset. Not many people were still out and about at this time; in fact, save the vagabond and the man walking along beside him, not a single person was to be seen on this street…

“You’re right…” the vagabond’s companion spoke into the silence. “I don’t think anyone could have expected it… Some have dreamed of it, of course, have been desiring it and praying for it for as long as I can remember, but I doubt anyone woke up this morning and knew it would start today…”

The walked onward a little more, reaching the bottom of the hill and turning into a new street. The companion spoke once more, continuing his thread. “I’ve been praying for it myself, y’know… many nights I would sit in my room, looking out the window at the lights of this city… praying for revival to come…”

They turned in through a gateway, stopping at the door as the vagabond’s companion fumbled in his pocket for his key. The vagabond turned around, looking out at the street before him. The school on the other side of the street stood tall, blocking his view back up the hill they had just descended. Pulling out his keyring, the vagabond’s companion led the way into the house. “I’ll have the kettle on in a jiffy,” he said, gesturing the vagabond towards the sofa in the sitting room to the right. “By the way, I had meant to ask you earlier… The visitor you were telling me about, what exactly did he say to you? Did he tell you his name?”
The vagabond smiled as he moved towards the sofa. “His name… he told me it was Gabriel.”
The vagabond’s companion stopped midstep, halfway to the kitchen. He was well aware of the significance of that name… turning to face the vagabond, he asked again, “What did he say? What was his message?”
The vagabond’s smile broadened, and a laugh escaped his lips… He gave his new companion the answer he sought…

“Hope…”