On The Surface

I hope all readers are growing in strength of spirit, and remembering that for sudden, the worst turns the best to the brave. When we know one or more who grieve, our duty is to give them what comfort we may. It is fitting to rejoice too, if grace allows, for the sake of those who have departed in righteousness. However, and despite how difficult this might be, I feel that perhaps we should also take a moment to pray earnestly for those about to depart in unrepentant wickedness. 

When my immune system was compromised, in 2004, I was forced then to adopt a form of ‘social distancing,’ as a way of life – which I’ve practised ever since. It has kept me incarnate. I used my scarf for a face mask throughout this time, and it’s worked very well.  Habitual cleanliness should go without saying. I dare say I will continue to live thus when the world has recovered. Although we are born without any choice but eventually to depart, what happens next belongs to the balance of the choices we are making here and now. If we gaze for too long at the the dancing reflections on the surface of things only, then fear will creep triumphantly in. Where there’s faith, there’s no fear. Faith and fear refuse to exist side by side. Faith fosters courage. Courage reminds us that our duty is to each other – and lends us the strength to do right. Even when we are stuck indoors all day long. 

And now, it’s time to change gear, by introducing a little levity…

“Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps ‘I think my friend is dead! What can I do?’ The operator says: ‘Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’ There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says ‘OK, now what?'”

I want to thank all readers and followers. I do appreciate your dropping by – and if I’m slow getting back to you, please bear with me. Finally, before I forget, the above pics were taken in March 2007. Be well everyone. 

Now we know that for those who love God all things are working together for good…

Romans 8:28

Photography ©Francis Moloney.

 

The Freshly Waxed Sled

We were treated to a heavy snowfall. It stayed for a week, but now is gone. It was a nice lead up to the seasonal festival here in the hills, where the soundless blanket of frozen crystals fell from the air. It seemed as if we were living in a scene from a Christmas card.

I am old enough to remember snowfalls that almost completely buried the houses where I lived, and which endured for many months. Temporary ski slopes were created in the unlikeliest of places, and I used to go sledding almost every day. Most of the roads were impassable for traffic, so walking to school and back was akin to embarking on an arctic expedition, which came complete with freezing flurries, and howling winds. Also ambushes, and pitched snowball battles with rivals from other schools. That was 62/3. Winters have never been so good since.

One day, I was having a go on my best friend’s freshly waxed sled on the street where he lived. Face first, and like a torpedo, I flew down the hill unstoppably towards the junction at the end, accompanied only by the cold wind singing in my ears. The road down there must have been gritted that morning, because I realised suddenly as I cleared the street, that my head was about to collide with the front wheel of a moving car. He must have been the first driver on that road in months. I just glimpsed the shock on his face, when at the instant his wheel should have crushed my head, I was lifted up by the collar of my coat, still clutching the sled, and was placed standing safely on the side of the icy road. This all happened in the blink of an eye. Thinking that my friend had somehow rescued me, I turned and shouted a heartfelt thanks, but there was nobody there. My friend was a quarter of a mile away. The car slid to a halt, and the driver got out. He said nothing, just gawked at me in what looked like complete disbelief, tinged perhaps with a little bit of fear. Cognitive dissonance, I suppose. Then he drove away, and I never saw him again.

My friend was greatly puzzled, but after an excited debriefing session, we agreed that for us, angels are proven, and nothing would ever take that knowledge away from us. We were nine.

Countless, I’m sure, are the numbers of people, who have, and who will experience such things, and although we live in a world that prefers us to keep it all to ourselves, we will alway know what is really true – and so will our angels. And that has to be a blessing.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas, and a safe and holy season in the arms of the giver of life. Let us remember in our hearts, all those who will not have it so good, and perhaps find time to reflect on the ebb and flow of things that cannot be quantified by any organ other than the heart.

On the Eve of the Winter Solstice, Peace from Amras.

Soundlessly they go,
the herons passing by:
arrows of snow
filling the sky.


Yamazaki Sōkan (1464-1552), loose translation by Michael R. Burch