Friday, 31 October 2014

A Halloween Kind of Moment

I had a busy day yesterday and I was pretty tired by the time
I remembered I had some letters I needed to get posted.

I just had time to get them to the post box before the last mail collection of the day,
so I huffed my way up to the top of the hill where the post box sits,
 and thankfully sent my little bundle of  envelopes safely on their way.

Having got myself up the hill,
tired as I was,
 and even though the day had reached that strange pre-dusk light we get in this country,
 I couldn't resist dipping down the other side of the hill into the park for a visit.

It made me smile that, it being half term,
  there were still parents and children, and the usual dog walkers
enjoying this lovely space as much as I do,
though there were signs most were heading off home.

I found a bench to sit a moment and rest my legs,
 realising I was more tired than I thought.

Of course the moment stretched.
 I let the peace of the quiet green sink into me.

Rousing myself at last I followed a favourite path to loop back to my starting point
and towards home.

A niggling thought suggested this wasn't the wisest move
 as the light had faded quickly and a heavier dusk lay on the quiet path.

Recent reports of happenings in the park which I'd disregarded came to mind,
and I found myself hastening my steps.

Lifting my eyes to strain ahead to where the entrance of the park would appear,
I saw that as the details of my unlit path were being swallowed up by the receding light,
 the golden trees on each side were assuming a flaming incandescence.

In the gathering gloom they flamed like beacons
lit by some deep inner fire.
Strangely, the dying light made them stand out more boldly.

How can they glow so brightly in such fading light?

However it happens,
 their beauty stood sentinel over my path homewards, lifting my heart.


This evening there will be lots of halloween parties,
and trick or treating.
 Lots of ghost stories and fun.

It being the beautiful season of All Hallows, or All Saints Eve,
I will be concentrating on the light of the season rather than the darkness,
and would like to encourage you,
 as the trees encouraged me,
 to be more aware of the light within,
than the fear of darkness.

I make no apology for posting this video again.
I just love to sing it!
Hope you will join in the chorus too.

It's Luka  Bloom singing Don't Be Afraid of the Light Within You

The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.
John 1:5

However you spend the weekend

Be Blessed

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sweet Prunings

Such a beautiful day today.

Time slows to a standstill as I prune the shrubs and roses,
the sun warm on my back as an early summer's day
whilst I ready the garden for the winter.

The stems I trace back to buds where I will make a cut
 are glossy with life.

I visualise the new growth that will burst forth;
tender new leaves, and eventually blossom.

Fat flower buds from the camellias fall around me
as we cut the branches to keep the trees in good shape.

I hate seeing this sweet potential lying underfoot
 but with an eye to the long term it has to be done. 

The metaphor is too obvious to be missed.

I think of the many paintings I haven't been able to finish
 because I have held on to some juicy patch of colour,
 or delicious swirl of brush work.
 Only when I have painted out this favourite, pride inducing, portion,
 has the work found new balance and perspective,
 and a resolution become possible. 

It's hard to let the darling things in life go though isn't it?
Even, or perhaps especially,
 when we know it's the sensible thing to do.

I salvage a few blossoms from the prunings of the Winter Sweet
so the scent will fill the room we sit in when we at last retreat indoors.

Now, our clocks having gone back an hour,
 the early dark has fallen
 and their fragrance pervades the warm room.

Another metaphor then.

The things we can bring ourselves to let go when we need to,
hard as they may be to part with,
open the way for a restoration,
 fresh, sweet, and new.

Yes, to move on, we need to let go.

Be Blessed

Monday, 27 October 2014

Glory! Glory! Glory! - REALLY?

Well I've blown it again today.

Promised hubby I would give him a lift this morning,
 then I woke tired and cranky.

To cut a long story short I was getting ready,
and he was making chivying noises,
 which culminated in the question,
" Are you ready?"
 when clearly I wasn't ...

Well I'll draw a veil over the rest.

It wasn't pretty.
In fact it was mean, and cruel, bad tempered, and unnecessary.

I don't lose it very often but when I do, I really do,
and this was one of those times.
Not much glory there then!

I was still in a huff when I dropped him off and drove home.

 Now I face the reality of who and what I am,
and whilst not diminishing the truth of it,
or excusing myself,
I gently forgive myself.

And that there,
right there,
is the glory.

Slowly, oh so slowly,
I, who have always been so hard on myself,
I, who have always been better at accusing myself,
 rather than excusing myself,
am learning to forgive myself,
just as I have been forgiven.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Ephesians 4:32 tells us.

After all, how else can I hope to treat others differently than I do myself?

I will rest up, then go and fetch hubby.

I have rung him and asked forgiveness for hurting him,
and  he has been understanding and forgiving,
 and we are again good to go.

I will make what reparation I can,
then we will travel on together,
 in our frailty, and humanity,
as we have done for the last 52 years
doing the best we can for one another
with a best that often falls short.

I am mightily blessed to have a companion
 who can mirror the love of God to me at times like this,
 and I am so grateful.

I certainly still have a long way to go as you see,
but to know that that is o.k.;
that I'm forgiven and loved,
and to believe it...
That is glory enough for anybody I think.

Be Blessed

Friday, 24 October 2014

Piercing the Gloom

It is one of those dark, dull, dank days here in Coventry.
A greyness settled over everything, and lowering skies.

Even so there is enough light from somewhere
 to shine through some of the leaves in the garden 
and my eyes are drawn to them.

They stand out against the gloom,
 illumined splashes of colour and light.

Watching the news from all over the world our eyes and hearts can become loaded,
over- loaded even ,
with the darkness of fear and sorrow.

At the same time as we are
 moved to feel the burden of our common humanity
we can discern, and give thanks for the acts of heroism
also being played out before our eyes.

Yesterday there was the ambulance teams in Liberia, 
 who are daily putting themselves at risk,
 shown collecting a comatose Ebola victim from her home.

The Sergeant at Arms in Ottawa who acted with un-thinking bravery
on a day he probably never expected to draw his gun.

The social worker who repeatedly
 drew attention to the abuse of children until her voice was heard . . .

In day to day life  this side of the television screen I see mothers,
 (so often on their own),
struggling against all the odds to give their children a good foundation in life.

Dads working long hours in difficult work situations to provide as best they can.

Elderly couples supporting each other with tender fastidiousness
 through mental or physical sickness
until the very last of their own strength is spent.

At the other end of the scale,
young people  are caring for sick or struggling parents
as their own childhoods slip away.

So much light being poured into dark places
it's a wonder we are not dazzled,
but strangely it is the darkness that often blinds us to the good, 
but not the light that helps us see.

This weekend
 may we be granted the grace not only to be more aware of the light all around us, 
but to discover,
and celebrate,
the light within ourselves,

Be Blessed

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dressed to Impress?

 I love it when the autumn leaves which have fallen on the paving,
leave these delicious impressions of themselves behind when they get blown away.

They are mere traces of the real thing yet have a beauty all their own.

This morning they led me to think again about the impressions we make
 as we pass through life.

I wonder am I more interested
 in the impression I make than I ought to be?

Though I know I'll never make any best dressed list,
 I am always aware of that twinge of disappointment when I see myself in a photo.

Surely I looked better than that?

I really thought I did when I stood in front of the mirror before going out.
Admittedly I was probably holding my stomach in and standing at just the right angle then, 
but even so the reality comes as a bit of a shock.

Vanity, vanity, all  is vanity.

Lets face it, as long as all the necessary areas are decently covered
 nobody else cares a jot what I look like.

Even if I had an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction
 I'm sure others wouldn't notice it as much, or remember it as long as I would.

I say this because I have just remembered the time
 I had made a complete circuit of the room at a wedding party
 before some kind soul took me to one side
 and un-tucked the back of my dress from my knickers!

I'd put that outfit together with care,and had really felt good until then,
but even I could see the funny side of it, and the irony of feeling good whilst
walking around unknowingly showing my nether regions was not lost on me.

What else are we unknowingly showing when we are out there trying to impress I wonder?

The lines,
Let holy charity mine outward vesture be
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
come to mind.

The words from the old hymn fall strangely on the ear, 
 and I guess we would call holy charity,
holy or chaste love, these days.

 Being clad with holy love
would find me more interested 
in enabling others to feel good about themselves than about me.

It wouldn't leave me fretting about what impression folks had of me, but
 would leave
 whoever I met feeling
 more valued, accepted,
and loved,
than before.

Now that is an impression I would be only too happy to leave behind me.

Be Blessed

If you are unfamiliar with  the hymn "Come Down O Love Divine", from which the quote above is taken, you can hear it here, sung by Fernando Ortega

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Weight of Glory

Don't know how to say this, but over the last few months I've been aware of
 a weight of glory.

It isn't that my life has been easier.
There have been upsets and worries, and things just plain going wrong as usual.

You will know as well as I do the world news has not become any more reassuring.
There are wars, rumours of wars, famines and pestilence.

It isn't that I have been aware of any change for the better in my own disposition.
I haven't become nicer, more tolerant, even tempered, or suddenly "good".

I would still like to shut my eyes and stuff my fingers in my ears
to shut out the amount of suffering there is.

Unreasonably, permeating all this I have become increasingly aware
 of an unremitting refrain of what I can only call Glory.

In those moments when my brain in on "idle", 
 (and some would say there are many such moments), the words,
 "Glory! Glory! Glory!" sing away.

The trip switch isn't solely those predictable ones,
 such as looking into my great grandson's beautiful face, 
listening to my great granddaughter's sing song baby words, 
or kissing the sweet smelling space at the nape of her neck.

No, it's something unexpected, creeping up on me when I least expect it.

In a strange city, in a strange country,
an enterprising drinker begging for any coins we can be persuaded to part with,
and there it is again,
Glory! Glory! Glory!

Feeling exhausted and ill.
So much I want to do which my body refuses,
Glory! Glory! Glory!

Quietly persistent, beyond my motivation or disposition,
Glory! Glory! Glory!

In a crowded pub, too hot, too crushed,
 listening to friends litany of grumbles about their family.
Glory! Glory! Glory!

You may well come to the conclusion I've lost the plot,
finally cracked.

The saying there´s a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in ...
comes to mind, and I look it up.

To my surprise I find a Leonard Cohen song on You tube  which about sums it all up.

You probably know it but I didn't.
(Yes I am out of touch!)

The line that resonates is
"Forget your perfect offering..."

For so long I wanted,
 tried so hard to be,
 or to bring,
 that "perfect offering".

I know at last I will never be a perfect anything, 
but I can bow before life and receive the gift of it with open hands 
so I keep as little of it back for myself as grace allows.

Glory! Glory! Glory!

Be Blessed