I have been reading it I believe for over a week now and it is proving to be a fascinating insight into the man. It is not exhilaratingly excellent, but it makes for compelling reading and getting to understand not just the man, but the context in which he played his role in history as well as Morgan’s own assessment of those factors and episodes.
As I made the enjoyable walk from the school to the COG/YMCA office where I work, I read further on the era in which Foot supported Aneurin Bevan in his brief spotlighted period as a significant figure in the Labour movement. It was virtually the rise and fall of Bevan as a political heavyweight and how his decisions were to be assessed in its effect on the Labour party as well as the direction of socialism as a whole.
It was good reading how in actuality socialism has different flavours from the working class flavour, to the middle class flavour to the quasi-Communist flavour and the near-right flavours that didn’t make too much of an issue about certain socio-economic demands and assumptions that the left made. I was fascinated by Foot’s role predominantly as a writer in supporting the values of whatever there was to Bevanism. (Morgan states that the problem was that there was hardly any doctrinal substance to this movement and they were usurped in actually shaping Labour’s vision of socialism by the side nearer the right of the party like Gaitskell and Crosland.)
All this is the set-up for what then happened as another epiphany moment in the life of Christopher Dryden. One aspect of the book was talking about Foot’s stance to trade unions in the early 1950’s particularly the leadership of the unions. Morgan depicts Foot as someone who didn’t really have much truck for them at the time and it took relationships later on to change his perspective. What got me thinking on a different stream was how Morgan describes the roles of these relationships with Frank Cousins and Jack Jones as opening the eyes of Foot.
It got me thinking about how certain episodes in life really do open your eyes to reality. It got me especially thinking of the current circumstance that we as a family find ourselves in where in essence for our own health and safety we need to make some very tough decisions.
It related well with the hints that had been dropped over the last year or two. In particular it reminded me of the Keith Green song Your Love Broke Through, especially the lyrics of the chorus
Like waking up from the longest dream,
How real it seemed,
Until your love broke through,
I was lost in a fantasy,
That blinded me,
Until your love broke through.
Those are profound lyrics of the power of revelation. It doesn’t just show you what is really there, it also says, to an extent, that what you thought was there, and believed passionately was reality was actually an illusion – a convincing, blinding illusion. The journey of faith on which I am travelling has been littered with incidents and episodes that bear this sentiment out. The key here as well is what makes the difference, what wakes me out of the reverie, what shakes me out of the fantasy – true, honest, pure love.
This is not a romantic, gooey version of the word full of soft settings and pleasant feelings. This is the love that goes out into the fields, mountains and valleys searching for the one lost sheep. This is the love that sends an only Son to die for the enemies. This is the love that spares no effort in doing what it takes to lift the blindness and let eyes see what the reality is. This is tough but comforting love. This is liberating but confounding love. This love is not easily digested in one sitting. This love is not easy to understand in one reading. This love is constantly unveiling and revealing, constantly exposing and highlighting, constantly leading and directing, constantly assuring and reassuring.
This love is seen in glimpses in the harsh realities of life where we get to know who our real friends are when the chips are down. This love is seen in the patient, caring, compassionate approach to us in failure and rejection. This love is heard in the words of this very real experience not just for Keith but for others, like me. This love is smelt, felt, heard, seen, tasted and experienced as much in times of great joy as in times of great sadness. This love, funnily enough, is exactly the love that is outlined in the Sermon on the Mount (almost as though God can talk about the Sermon on the Mount through the life of Michael Foot – how creative is that!).
This amazing agape love sustains me in the challenges of life and sees me maintaining hope even if the structures on which I relied on in time past are removed slowly or harshly. This love is centred primarily on knowing God better and then, in the light of that, recognising who I am and what I am meant to do.
I am grateful that His love broke through and continues to break through in my life, and it remains my life’s prayer as well as my life’s journey to share the experience and witness it in the lives of others open to this love breaking through.
For His Name's Sake