Sunday, 5 December 2010


To church on a sunlit morning
with colour re-born in our corner of the world;
and the snow, if not the ice,
receding a little more.

During the service we said goodbye to a little family
who are returning to re-settle in their home
in the Seychelles after 10 years here in the U.K.

There were tears even before the "Goodbyes" had begun.

A family of three children and their mother, are also flying off for
Christmas in the Cameroons.

They have been parted from the husband and father of the family
for over 4 years, and will have three short weeks together
before returning to their home here with us.

Permission for the family to be together
is a long time coming.

I know the politics and logistics of
asylum seekers and refugees is fraught with controversy,
but to hear particular, individual family stories,
and see the pain and affects of separation,
make it difficult for me to sweep these things
under the carpet of my concerns over resources,
or my tendency to hard heartedness
when I fear my own interests may be threatened.

The tidy, sterile box of ignorance I could once keep shut
has been irreversibly opened, as the anguish of once remote countries
boils over into our own.

These words come from Rabindranath Tagore's beautiful
(Song Offerings)

"Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not.
Thou hast given me seats in homes not my own.
Thou hast brought the distant near and made a brother of a stranger.

I am uneasy at heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter;
I forget that there abides the old in the new,
and that also there thou abidest.

Through birth and death, in this world or in others,
wherever thou leadest me it is thou, the same,
the one companion of my endless life
who ever linkest my heart with bonds of joy to the unfamiliar.

When one knows thee, then alien there is none,
then no door is shut.
Oh, grant me my prayer that I may never lose the touch of the
one in the play of the many".

Life isn't as cute or as streamlined
as the graphic at the start of this post
but springing from the same earth as we do,
wouldn't it be wonderful if
"alien there is none"
could become reality.

I confess I've a long way to go before it can be true in my own heart.

Wherever you are today,
Be Blessed

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