Our day of light

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Roads

No need to wonder what heron-haunted lake
lay in the other valley,
or regret the songs in the forest
I chose not to traverse.
No need to ask where other roads might have led,
since they led elsewhere;
for nowhere but this here and now
is my true destination.
The river is gentle in the soft evening,
and all the steps of my life have brought me home.

Ruth Bidgood

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Raymond Carver

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Remembering

photo/BarryLewis/Alamy

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

E H Sears

un jour sans pain est un jour sans vie
a day without bread is a day without life

The little one born in a stable (and in other stables) beneath the stars in Bethlehem (which in Hebrew means House of Bread)  arrived in a ‘birthday suit,’ a marvellous and extraordinary strategy adopted by every little one that had come before, and every little one that came after – insofar as instantly recognisable humanity is the only (and the only important) identification. Alpha and Omega. In this Beginning, and in every Beginning, and in the Beginning at the End.

Fleetingly, unaffiliated, unclothed and unbadged, this little one, every little one, belongs only to the One Universal Family.

Fleetingly, unaffiliated, unclothed and unbadged, this little one, every little one, arrives as a sign, an angel, a message, something anointed, something breathed into, Some One to be remembered and celebrated. Like the bread of life itself. Like the milk of human kindness and compassion.

Clear as cold night air the message of the arrival, of all such arrivals, touches humankind.

un jour sans pain est un jour sans vie
a day without bread is a day without life

Let the whole earth give back the song which – all too fleetingly – these little ones sing.

From my heart to your heart, whomsoever and wheresoever you may be: may you have a kind, full and thankful heart. And the Shalom of good bread tonight.

A reset button

We keep eating our way through the arms of the Universe, desperate for something large and quiet to hold us

Mark Nepo
Things That Join The Earth And The Sky
Short Wisdom On A Long Planet, page 4

Here’s ten minutes or so’s worth of invitation (to me and to you) to sit still and quiet for a space – a reset button, if you like – a perspective-shaping quelling of life’s overload circuits. Food for hungry souls. Something to keep coming back to, home to. A bookmark.

Thank you to all who have recently shared, and often share stillness and quietness and love with me. x

Acorns, owl feather and ribbon

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photo at pixabay

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel,
about the Sacraments –
he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear,
you understand:
everything imparts
His grace.”

St Francis of Assisi
Translation by Daniel Ladinsky
Love Poems From God: Twelve Voices from the East and West

My beloved Dad died last Wednesday. Mum’s now in hospital having fallen and broken an arm a day later. Many miles away we’ve been seeing the inside of hospital too. And friends have just been bereaved … and … and … and … well, everyone in the world knows how it goes, for all of us, for some of our time. Grief. Pain. Fear. Distance.

So is Francis right? Does ‘everything’ (even if not quite literally) impart grace? I’ve had a few opportunities to find out over a scary weekend. And my answer’s a resounding ‘yes!’

Here’s a bit of a list: wonderful life-partner, children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, advisers, counselors, doctors, nurses, neighbours, weight-bearing friends around the world and ‘there’ and ‘here’. Friendship’s love, candles lit, and prayer communicated from afar.  ‘A Taste of Italy’ on TV, memories of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ sung at high volume by my parents, sister, brother, cousins, children, and me. Thank you notes from baby grandchildren and a great-niece. Deep meditation’s peace.

I’m with you, Squirrel: acorns, an owl feather, and a ribbon [you] found. I just need to remember to run into the hollow. And there, and also everywhere, I find, and am found. Grace.

Delivered

Some joys that come to our doorsteps, inevitably, outshine others. Perhaps because some such joys carry a particular measure of comfort. Something along the lines of – no matter how awful things may appear at times, this life is full of so much richness and goodness that we cannot help but tumble into the kind of response that is the very name of this treasury of awe and wonder. Devotions.

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Autumn garden days

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I love autumn garden days. We’ve had a mixture of rain and sunshine today so everything has a fresh-washed look and a maturity-in-colour that speaks of the passing of time, of life’s changing seasons, and of richness in all of it. During the course of the day I’ve watched the tournesols doing just that, turning their smiling faces to the sunlight. (click photo to enlarge). One cannot help but smile. Cheered. Grateful. Autumn.