Saturday, 18 April 2015

The View From The Top

I took these photos at British_Camp,
not quite at the top of the site of the Iron Age fort
 in the Malvern Hills, Worchestershire.

Hubby and I climb it once a year to prove we still can,
 and to look over at our beloved Wales from the summit.

This year we took our seven year old great grand son Zachary with us 
and he had a great time playing warrior spying out the enemy,
 as well as coming in handy carrying our picnic to the top on his back.

We were not all that sure we would make it to the top this year,
what with hubby's arthritic knees and seventy nine years beginning to take their toll.

In the event we all made it,
 enjoying our picnic in the unseasonably warm sunshine atop the fort.
For the first time I can remember, even the wind held it's breath,
 so the silence was unbroken.

We marvelled together at the magnificent panorama, 
and wondered at the amazing people who built this fortification so very long ago.

Now people are drawn here  
as a place apart from the struggles of everyday life.
Even Zach ventured the opinion 
it was so peaceful, he would like to live at the top.

When it was built of course
 it was a means of survival at the very centre of battle and strife.

Sitting in the sunshine I remembered a time nearing my mother's death 
when I was attempting to split myself between my home in Coventry,
 and my parents home in Wales. 
Both Mam and Dad were frail, my daughter was awaiting surgery,
 and my husband undergoing tests for a muscular problem 

I had been driving down to Wales, when against all the pressures of time,
 I succumbed to the need to pull off the motor way
 and take the detour to the Malverns.

The day had been grey, with a constant drenching drizzle falling
 as I climbed the steep path just high enough to feel myself drawn into the side of the hill.

Leaving the path I sank onto the damp ground and wept.

I cannot convey the sense of embrace, and peace, I experienced then,
as the earth itself seemed to mirror my pain and weariness,
and comfort me.

Now, here I was this time,
 having got to the top,
sitting on the lower slopes of the huge mound
 caressed by spring sunshine, with my husband by my side,
 and my great grand son playing photographer.

Although I am not carrying anything like the burden I was that day in the  rain,
 there are still painful, demanding, things
waiting for us when we return from our trip to the top.


There are few times in life, it seems to me,
when we are living with an un-interrupted view from the top,
where all is peace and radiant with beautiful horizons.

At the moment those closest to us are each caught up
 in difficult and uncertain circumstances.

 This week has been especially stressful.

It would be so easy to slip back into the fear that has so often bound me in the past,
and robbed me of peace.

Strangely the greatest temptation is to feel that I should be fearful and anxious
in the face of what is happening.

I remembered the word I had received for this year was
thinking ruefully how much that has already been tested,
 yet thankfully, wonderfully, held.

In the instant the thoughts and emotions formed, other words arose,

 from Ps. 31:14-17
But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”

 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.

The situation of my loved one had not, and has not, changed,
but the view from the top is to carry the peace of trust down
 into the testing place of faith
where the horizons are narrowed with threat of one sort or another.

Our times may not be in our own hands yet we may trust ourselves 
and each other to that higher, wider view,
obscured to us.


I pray that where you, like me, may be tempted to fear or despondency, 
you may be strengthened by the Spirit to
 hope and peace.

Be Blessed

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