The day is just rising…

I was in the queue behind a guy this morning who was on the phone while completing his transaction. “You’re too emotional… women, they’re always too emotional,” he declared into the phone, while demanding she put their child on the phone (I grimaced, imagining the irritation of this woman, who I guessed was probably doing the bulk of the bringing up of the child [also, how is it possible to be “too emotional”? Grrr…]). “Woman; the day is just rising…give thanks and be glad you opened your eyes this morning to greet it!” I exchanged knowing grins with the Muslim guy behind the till and said, “He’s preaching to us all this morning”.

I was just sitting on a low wall writing this when another guy began talking to me. People round here have an instinct for who has got time to listen. We said how much we were enjoying the sun. He said he didn’t like the cold so he was glad for the sun. I pointed to the trees and said how the blossoms were coming. He said, “Yeah this is our world… we gotta look after it isn’t it?” His words were very slurred and in a strong dialect so he had to repeat that three times before I could grasp it. I wasn’t expecting such care for the natural world from someone so vulnerable. But he probably spends way more time outside than I do. I stand corrected.

This is Easter where I live. Three completely different cultural backgrounds, at least two different faiths, shared human needs and flaws and an encouragement to notice that the day is just rising. We give thanks we opened our eyes to see it. And we resolve to look after this beautiful planet with all her creatures. 🙏💕

I am among you

I made this little chant recording based on something Jesus said (Luke 22.27); “I am among you as one who serves”. What a gentle way to be – among (not above) us as “one who serves”, and how unexpected it is for a leader to say this and to embody it:

There’s a lot of talk about leaders serving, and many do. I am thanking God for them today. But I think for leaders the lure of power and popularity is strong and may tempt us to forget the invitation we have to serve others.

Image by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

Service is tiring and can be discouraging. It may feel like we are making no difference at all. But maybe we are when we embody this attitude? This is more for those used to privilege, as I am. Those who have endured service and labour and grinding poverty with little or no choice I think perhaps need to hear that Jesus is with them to serve them for once. 🙏💕

Do the best you can…

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this quote from Maya Angelou lately:

I often gaslight myself for not knowing things it feels like I should’ve known. But actually I’m coming to see that what matters is that often in my life I have been doing the best I could based on what I did know. And no one can know everything. Now is the time not for dwelling on my past limitations, but recognising what I now know, and “doing better”.

This was brought to my mind a couple of times lately. In one situation, I was feeling righteous indignation about someone powerful’s poor knowledge and response to a damaging state of affairs. I caught myself feeling angry at them for their woeful lack of understanding. But then realised in many ways I was in their shoes not very long ago. I don’t have the same kind of power and responsibility as them, but I do have some power and some responsibility. And I also hadn’t taken the time and trouble to listen and understand; to know better.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But now I am beginning to know better, and attempting to do better. This is the way of hope.

The second situation where this sprang to mind was in listening to someone who recounted a great question she had been asked when facing a sticky situation; “What would the best version of yourself do?” Now I know that question, I think it may help me to know better and also to do better going forward. Although I am also making allowances for myself to sometimes do less well due to being tired or over stretched. (These doughnuts didn’t buy themselves today. And the missing ones didn’t eat themselves, either!…)

Moonlit revelations

Last night I went for a magical walk through a wood. It was the last full moon before Christmas. Having had a day of crisp, clear, sunny winter skies, the skies clouded over, and I feared we wouldn’t be able to see the moon at all. But actually we could see it throughout, framed beautifully by thin bare branches and a halo of soft cloud.

At one point the three of us chose a path which took us to a place we had never been to before. (Or maybe we just didn’t recognise it in the dark?) We felt like somehow we had stumbled through a portal into another wood beyond the wood. (Curiously, there was a four way signpost nearby on which most of the text appeared obliterated.) We resisted the temptation to locate ourselves with GPS, and instead relished the moment of mystery, grateful for each other’s company.

I love this quote which I saw today:

“…If a forest is a sacred grove, not timber…” May I always see forests like this. And my “brother sun, sister moon” (as St Francis is said to have put it). I believe we are all creatures of the same Creator. May I always enter the woods with awe, asking of my kin “In the name of your Creator and mine, am I welcome here?” And may I always listen keenly, without assumption, for the trees’ response.

Moving & stilling

Constant movement and stillness. Everybody’s going somewhere all the time. (This was taken near the station in the city.) Rushing like the water onto the next thing. I’m currently in Covid isolation though, which is making me appreciate the stillness the stepping aside from any rush at all.

A moment of moving. And of stilling…

All shall be well

Julian of Norwich famously wrote « All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. » Here’s a beautiful musical tribute to that, referring to the force of love I mentioned in my previous post. It’s good to watch the sea and let these words wash over me: