Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Safeguarding the way

On Maria’s blog I found this most wonderful quotation, words of Lloyd Lee Wilson:
“The Simple Life is one in which there is always time to remember the Divine Purpose behind each of our tasks, time to listen for a possible Divine amendment to the day's schedule, and time to be thankful for the Divine Presence at each moment of the day.”

Watching the DVD No Greater Love (UK here) about the life of Carmelite nuns, I am intrigued by how slowly and with what care they do everything.  With diligence, yes, and no dawdling.  But, watching the sister plant peas in the vegetable garden, I am impressed to see her on her knees patting and preparing the earth, scrabbling and smoothing, using a measure to ensure the right distance between each pea – nothing of scrape a rough trench with a hoe, drop ’em in and hope they’ve got the right spacing.   I watch the prioress applying wax to the chapel floor with a cloth on the end of a mop, mindfully and missing nothing – not obsessively, not fussily; it is as though the woman keeps her spirit contained within its own proper house, she does not give herself to her work – but she attends to it.

And I am finding that as the tide of objects and possessions and trinkets and ornaments and commitments and connections subsides, what’s left behind is a new alertness; the ability to focus and look deeply – a new confidence in seeing and recognising my stepping stones forward.

Correspondingly, I am finding myself increasingly unable to engage with complication of any kind.  It exhausts and harries.

When I lived in Aylesbury, along the road from me I discovered a Quaker, Anne; she and I became friends.  When we dug up the concrete slabs laid on the forecourt of our home to plant a garden, she brought me a campanula of such a sweet beautiful shade of blue – the perfect marriage of blue and green in uts flowers, its leaves; I can see it still, sitting as a sign of hope in the bare new-dug earth, alongside the lavenders we brought out of their pots from the back yard.  And the bees began to come before we even had the lavenders in the ground!   Anyway, Anne – she was a painter and loved to look, really look deeply, really see: and she would speak of taking time to see the wren on the fence; living life spaciously enough not to miss its wonder, its ordinary miracles.  Where we live now there is a narrow footpath that runs through trees and between gardens down to the park, where often I hear the wren singing.  And in our garden where the trellis has been put up ready for the passion flower to climb next spring, the wren will sometimes come, looking out bright-eyed to see if we have scattered crumbs on the roof of the woodstore.  And then I think of Anne, painting her pictures, growing her garden, taking time to see the wren on the fence.  And I send her and all the Aylesbury Quakers my love.

I have such a consuming hunger for simplicity in the everyday; it is not easy either to put it in place or maintain it.  The tides of chaos beat against it wearing it away as the rough seas of the Channel batter relentlessly the harbour arm that safeguards the way out to sea of the Hastings fishing fleet.  Patiently, ever again, simplicity must be rebuilt and extended, if I am to protect my way out to the open sea.


365 366 Day 39 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

More earrings. These were harder to part with, because they were a birthday gift from the Badger.  Very beautiful, such a lovely colour.  But they are real glass and this made them uncomfortably heavy to wear as it turned out.  I kept them a long while just admiring them.  Now they have travelled on, hopefully to a lady whose ears are made of sterner stuff than mine.



maria said...

I leave your humble place refreshed and encouraged to continue on this life that is so hard at times.

It takes time *which it amazes me how in tune we seem to be Ember*, for everything to be done. But it is during this time that the precious happens. The healing process from a hurried world begins to take place.

Everything in life requires diligent attention...just like the nuns, they know that each tasks needs its necessary components to make it work. There is no hurry, because that will defeat the purpose of living a life dedicated to worship.

Beautifully written my friends as always :)

Be blessed today,


Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Waving! x

Anonymous said...

I'd love that sort of work ethic (if that's the word I'm looking for) I find I waste too much time and then scramble around trying to do everything quickly. I know I need to work more diligently and at a less hurried pace.

Pen Wilcock said...

What I find is it makes each task more enjoyable, like I can really become absorbed in it, set free from the breathless haste/procrastinate alternation that threatens to dominate my usual pattern of life.

Gerry Snape said...

the children's box games are being sorted...such a good feeling...all children and grandchildren too old for the ones going in the daily basket...but earrings? oooh dear Ember ...I LOVE my earrings...though I admit there are one or two sets that I don't really wear...but.....

verification says ...derse...yes I think for me that might be ...derse!!

Anonymous said...

I think I need to spend less time on my pc and I might not need to rush the rest! :-/

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh, yeah - derse! Sometimes that's just what a girl has to say!

Hi Debs - waving! x