A Perfect Day – and yet…..

  • A little light housework – leaves one feeling so much better.
  • A stroll to the post box and a long, long gaze at the flowering clematis along the way.
  • Lunch
  • Reading a book under a sun umbrella
  • A Misty-dog curls up on my knee
  • Smelling the honeysuckle
  • Watching and listening to the birds

And yet, my heart is filled with the knowledge and the starkness of such a dreadful day yesterday for the people of Cumbria. Always alongside the ordinary, the everyday, the good things in life, there are the horrors of violence, murder, war and the tragedy of loss. This is always the problem for the preacher or personal motivator. It seems too trite to say enjoy the little things because all around is grief and pain.

A friend said that my blog was often full of pathos and pain. He seemed to feel that it was in some way the less for being realistic. I explained that I tried for honesty and did my best to share what is in my thoughts at any given time. Perhaps he has a point, perhaps I am too affected by the swirl of life’s troubles going round each one of us. But I hope more than anything that this blog is true. If we learn anything as we go through life, it is to be grateful for small things; we learn through experience that we can be alongside our neighbours in their troubles and we learn through many gaffes that sometimes we need to be silent.

I always used to say that prayer changes things, and the first thing it changes is us. If you are a regular reader, perhaps you can tell me if I am too negative…… (too depressing to be in blogland!) And I would be interested to know how you juggle with the problem of good and evil in your own lives. I suppose that is a very personal question to ask, because it is about each person’s own spirituality. Forgive me if the question troubles you; I shall be thinking about it at the same time as I think about my heritage of Presbyterian guilt.

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8 Responses to A Perfect Day – and yet…..

  1. Jimmy says:

    Little Hand.

    You don’t know
    you’re breaking my heart
    or how I wish
    it could be me instead of you
    I sit at the bottom of your bed
    and there’s nothing I can do
    I pray my earnest prayer
    for God to let you stay
    but know deep inside
    he’s taking you away

    Carefully structured expectations
    unspoken hopes and plans entwined
    though struck by such a feeble hand
    collapse entangled in the mind

    This is the last of carefree days
    of youthful jest and childlike joy
    but captured moments of these and more
    this day will not destroy

    And the wounded heart will never
    let go of this little hand
    still reaching where the treasure is
    will sojourn only in this land

    And the wounded Saviour will never
    let go of our grief and pain
    God knows we do not understand
    it’s hard enough to be sane.

  2. lc says:

    Freda, stay real. Your posts are thought provoking, challenging, comforting, inspiring. And Jimmy’s poetry in comment brought tears. Thank you both for sharing.

  3. Mina says:

    The British tradition of the stiff upper lip has seen generations through many trials and tribulations leading to great sorrow. It is only recently that we have been encouraged to show emotions. This is something that when it is very public many cannot deal with this. A grief shared may be a grief halved but it is also a grief spread. This is happening in public and private life making everyone take on some of the burden of sorrow. Whether this is strengthening us or indeed damaging depends greatly on the inner strength of individuals. I recall the intense emotions of an elderly lady watching the Dunblane tragedy unfold on her television which she watched compulsively and now think of all those affected by the Cumbrian tragedy. And yes, here is also a grief spread but those involved will be unaware of this. What goes through my mind is will this public shock and grief in any way help them or will the excessive media coverage cause distress for others. As you can see my thoughts too are with that community.

  4. freda says:

    Thanks for the comments – there is plenty of food for thought there. I agree with you Ic about Jimmy’s poem. The last verse especially, somehow made me feel a bit less confused, simply by giving permission not to understand. It seems that honesty is all important and that often there is no easy answer. Mina, I too have found the media handling of a tragedy hard to comprehend; in my first parish I came face to face with those living the aftermath of the Lockerbie plane crash. Some wanted to talk, some couldn’t or wouldn’t and some just wanted to be left alone. It seems we all have our own ways of dealing with this world of instant communication. Lots to think about over the days ahead.

  5. Suem says:

    Keep it real and keep it truthful. I don’t think your blog is depressing by the way.

    How do I juggle with the awareness of both good and evil? I’ve no idea! I think when you have a faith (even if you don’t) the senselessness of evil and suffering is something you just hold ias knowledge, you sometimes puzzle about it, you never really get answers! You hold it in tension with all the good in life.

  6. freda says:

    Thanks for the confirmation Suem. We all seem to be agreed that we cannot get all the answers in this life, and we simply have to do the best we can.

  7. Sheila says:

    Not depressing at all! Thought provoking yes, funny yes, empathetic yes, informative yes, entertaining yes. Stay the course. Your course that is. That is how I deal with good and evil too. I just try to maintain personal sanity while many things in the world are totally and inexplicably insane. In my own little sphere I can keep evil at bay and life is good. If we all had good little spheres there would be no evil would there?

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