Friday, 24 August 2007

A moment in time

A moment in time
a fleeting thought
gone without knowing
but then did it linger

Cassiopeia the big W
a clear sky tonight
I recall as a boy
stories of the night

Memories wander
and should I mind
to take that time
and hold it for a moment

To payback some respect
for the joy and experience
the person
the moment

More precious than life
is the time you can give
for another to recall
again and again.

for George and the many hours we spent talking about Stars.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

In - between

The old friary has many rooms and over the years, changes have been made. The corridors twist and twine through the house opening here and there - rooms without doors. The third floor (up in the eaves) is not used except for storage, books, files and boxes; Michael says we will have a sort out one day, but it will take so long that no-one mentions it any more. Some would say this place has character, others that it is in need of modernising or at least re-decoration.

Nooks and crannies, passages and cubbyholes; a living area and eating quarters, a place to rest and through this place we call home - a place to meet. It is all too easy to see the friary as a working place, a function we are called into and to be part of.

I tend to stride from one end of the building to the other, more intent on the ending than the journey; what I must do when I get there; prepare the dinner, layout the vestments, prepare the alter, weed the garden or harvest some peas. I am beginning to focus on the 'in between times' the journey to and from these events.

Brother Cyril seems happy for me to ramble on about all the things I have been busy with and more, the things I have yet to do. "Sit down for a minute" he will say, "take the weight off your feet", but I don't.
Perhaps the journey need not be so fast, as I pass through the rooms and corridors, do I notice the changes or the things that have always been?

We are like a house with many rooms, busy with our lives and paying more attention to the end result rather than the journey. I am due to go on retreat shortly and I am really looking forward to the 'in between times'.
Note to evening office, Lord may you find me in the in between times.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Don’t follow me (I’m lost too).

I have been wondering what I can tell you about life at the friary and how I can make it interesting; I would not want this to deteriorate into a soap opera – though I understand some soaps did start this way (oh my life)! Heartbeat started out as short stories and Herriot the veterinary. Fr Ted of course is totally fiction and has no basis in real life, written by comedy writers Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan, who were educated by Vincentian and Marist’s.

Life is how we live it, and in the realms of the friary and monastery I have always (as long as I can remember) had the invitation “Come and see” the life has always called to me – come and see.

Jesus only ever said one thing: “come, follow me” and if the friary, monastery or home says one thing, should it not be – come and see.

How do we live together? I am sure you would like me to express the entire holy and perfect relationships, activities and completeness of our community. Sorry to disillusion you, we are just human and fall short in many ways. We have a structure in prayer, worship and devotion. There are formats for most of our way of life (our rule) but these can be empty if our way with each other is without grace.

We are not always good at recognising each other’s needs and prefer to charge ahead with our own images and agendas. Penitent workers in the vineyard is a good description, as through our format / structure we bring to mind our shortcomings on a daily basis.

We can feel safe within a structure and keeping strictly within the guidelines, we can blame someone else if things go wrong. Jesus teaching takes on the shape of a heart into which we are called – Come follow me.

Note to evening office, when I am looking at formats and structures, picture a heart.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

From black holes

Out in the friary garden, you may remember is a silver birch that is about five years old now. I had a closer look at it this week, and realised it needed setting free from the plastic cover that has kept it strait these past years. I carefully worked through the plastic with a sharp knife, trying hard not to nick the young bark (as if it would shout at me)? There was no doubt the plastic had to be removed, but what about the wind? It gets very windy in these parts and it is still a young tree.

Is it my intention for this tree to grow strait and tall and become a classic shaped silver birch?
I look around; and the trees I tend to photograph are the interesting ones, the ones that have been shaped by prevailing wind and toughened by the weather. If I were to grow a bonsai tree, I would try to shape the growth using strong wire frame etc (you experts can correct me on that one). We are what we are as a result of what life throws at us and often better - for the not so good stuff.

Brother Cyril has been off on one recently telling me about beginnings and ends and what it might be like to travel through a Black Hole (my goodness). He was carefully explaining his theory and I know Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle all spoke about the world being spherical; so I had some notion how these guys must have felt when no one took any notice. I was being sucked into Cyril's theory, what if he is right?

I am pretty much like the next man and live my life based on my life expectancy; with a load of life experiences thrown in for good measure. Now if what Cyril is suggesting is true, would this affect the way I live, what would change, should there be a change as a result of this new information?
"This is getting too much for my little head Cyril" and I left him down the garden.

But seriously, how do we respond to new information? Even now reading the bible, I see things I haven't seen before and yes it challenges me - even events in the newspaper challenge my thinking. How do I respond?
It is easy to turn a page, switch the channel or give some glib remark. Is anything going to change in me?
If an event in our lives results in no change, should it ever have happened?
Note: take two panadols tonight before evening office.