Friday, 24 July 2009

Journeys and promises

One of the luxuries of summer holidays is being able to stay up late into the night reading and praying. Late night and early morning are, in my opinion, the best times for these activities because there is a stillness in them that seems to speak of expectancy. During the school week I normally flag out by about 10 (which at 25 is rather a sorry thing to admit to the world at large but a day with kids ranging from 11-18 will do that to you). During the school term I get to enjoy the early mornings because I have quite a commute. During the holidays I switch and the night becomes my time of stillness. 

At the moment I am preparing for my various summer journeys, of which there are a few. I always find the process of travelling quite a spiritual experience, perhaps a reminder of our pilgrim way through life.  I feel that every journey has a spiritual element to it and there is an element of growth and renewal in leaving behind what you know and going towards the unfamiliar, even just for a few days. There is so much of this beautiful world to experience but, thanks to mankind, not all of it always seems particularly beautiful.  Nevertheless, where there is life there is surely goodness and hope to be found. I am not, of course, speaking of external beauty - but true beauty- the beauty of the soul, which often has an external appearance which suggests the opposite to superficial beauty.

My first journey this summer is to a friend's wedding- one ceremony  is in the north of England and the other in Holland because her future husband is Dutch (I am leaving for Holland next Friday while the English festivities are early next week).  It seems strange to be seeing another dear friend embark upon the vocation of marriage. The more of these ceremonies I go to (and they are rather frequent these days) the more moved I become by the incredible beauty of an institution of such trust in another person, such willingness to accept another with all their faults and failings.  In an increasingly cynical world it also seems very brave to do so, when the statistics and culture seem to be persuading against. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see friends who I have grown up with happy in their lives.  Although this is a friend from university, I still feel that, to some extent, we were children when we met. Of course marriages also contain a certain aspect of sadness because they are farewell to an aspect of that particular friends life - however, this sadness is far outweighed by the joy and promise of the life to come. 

I am praying that the journeys I make this summer, that the journeys all make this summer, will be fruitful - that they will teach me, help me to grow and help me on my own pilgrimage - the pilgrimage of life. 

I am reading a book about Dominican spirituality at the moment - just because I like to find out about different orders and understand them better. Tonight I read this quotation from Meister Eckhart 

'God is always ready, but we are unready. God is near us, but we are from from him'

I pray that the journeys of life may make us ready (whether these journeys be literal or metaphorical)
I pray that that the journeys of life may allow us to draw near to Him.

Wherever I travel you are all truly in my prayers.


Andrea said...

Beautiful post!

I pray you will have blessed journey's this summer. I pray each journey will be filled with God's revelations.

~Joseph the Worker said...

I am a night owl. I totally agree with you about the late at night and early in the morning though... Anytime before 7 Am and after about 10 PM are really special for me and i get a lot of work and spiritual things done....

SQUELLY said...

Actually I agree with those timings exactly -before 7 and after 10 - I think it just the quiet and peace.

Thank you Andrea! You are always so kind.

Blessings and prayers!


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