Reflections in the pond of life:
Tantalising. The pond. The reflections. I smile as I watch. The changing patterns. It even reminds me of my childhood at my grandmother’s with the open fire. The flames seemed to be telling stories. They kept on surprising me, teasing me, and mesmerising me. They woke up my imagination. The shadows and the reflections in the water, did something similar. I felt/feel like an artist without a canvas. Was I just chasing shadows? Which or whatever – it was/is quite beautiful. There is always more to see and to admire and to be enchanted by every day.
I meet very few out these mornings. I am walking too early.
This morning, there was a very gentle swish at my left shoulder.
And the heron took up its place in the water.
It was almost silent.
I think it wanted to pass close to me.
It was a way of being familiar without being intrusive. After all we are morning friends.
Living with Covid:
This new world: Life before Covid; Life during Covid. It has changed us. I think I have become reclusive. That must be one of the lingering effects of the lockdown. I go out so early and meet almost no-one. I am not trying to avoid people but I have settled into a new pattern of life.
My former life was very different. Every day was full with people. Now I hesitate. I am reluctant to visit homes. People are slow to visit my gaff. Every meeting has to be full of spaces. Liturgy is quite distant. The normal interactive celebration is less easy. All the masking makes it hard to hear people. Funerals become even more demanding. The concentration. The scatter of the few (50) and the deep want and wish for so many to be present. The speaker outside the Church helps. The webcam somehow links people together. But without presence and touch; it cannot be the same. What else is Communion? (‘A Touch isn’t just a touch’ – Sarah L Harvey, might be a little explicit but it reaches the inner core of humanity.) We are back on Facebook this weekend with our broadcasting. That is something. We intend to ensure that it isn’t just Mass but rather a proper Eucharist!
Criticism and negativity:
Way back some time ago. I had a number of phone calls from a bishop. He liked my writings but was a little peeved and even disappointed. He felt that there was a natural easiness in my scribbles and a light-heartedness with mischief. He was somewhat saddened then that there had been an intruder in a recent article. A hint. A suggestion. A darkness. Some negativity. I can’t at present remember what that was, but he had a point. It is right to be critical. There is much to be critical about. But the warmth, heart and fun of Church has to be celebrated. Faith of course isn’t ‘Happy Clappy’ but there needs to be a Lifting of the Heart and a smile. Always.
I have frequently quoted Edward Schillebeeckx’s observation on Sacrament: ‘A smile on the face of God.’ That reaches my innards. Every day, despite what happens, there is something that brings a smile to my face. Today I ramble back to the pond. The reflections. Everyday at Church, the ri-ra, the chatter, the honesty, the spontaneity, the snippet of sharing becomes a sacrament. A smile on the face of God. If God can smile; so must we. There is too often a dourness, even a sourness, a darkness, a dreariness in what we have to say as Church people. How can we get a balance between passionate, even fair criticism as opposed to rusty negativity?
I hear Dwayne Johnson has been the highest paid male actor in the past year according to Forbes. I had never heard of him. Nor of most of the top 10 earners! Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate. I wish she was the main character. Joe comes across with warmth but ‘his future is all past’ or should be.
Aaron Brady has been found guilty of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe’s murder. The trial has gone on since January. I can never grasp how anyone could shoot another person. Beirut has caught the attention of us all with the explosion and then the chaos. In the past, we often said that a bad local scene was like Beirut. What comes back to mind for some of us, is the story of the hostages – Terry Anderson, Brian Keenan, John McCarthy, Terry Waite, Tom Sutherland. There were many more. The deep sadness is that Lebanon suffers so much and continues to suffer.
Bolsonaro and Trump are always newsworthy. They provide copy for the media. Imagine Donald accusing Kamara of being disrespectful and phoney? Ronnie O Sullivan makes news with his comments on the younger generation of snooker players. He sounds like most of us as we get older! Or has he become Roy? (I met young officers of the law recently; I thought they were teenagers!) And of course Covid goes on and on and on. I get tired of listening to some, stating the obvious. But we have to hear it. I am pleased to see the youngsters back playing games. The football has returned. Sport is the currency of daily conversation for many. The pubs are still closed. The predicted exam results are causing quite a hullabaloo in Scotland and England; it will surface here too. Getting the schools ready for a return is challenging. The nuns of St Benedict’s Priory in Kilgarvan, Cobh have got apples for their chutney from OPW so all is well in the convent.
And finally I was moved to hear from Pat Rogers during the past week. His spirit is strong. His body is weak. He has given us so much. He has more to give. He is a fighter. The ACP Liturgy site has been very blessed in his work for all of us.
I got an email asking me to consider writing a book. The proposal was that I would publish what Indi has to say. She must be 18 weeks old this week. She is bursting with energy. She wants to talk. She is a keen observer on life and adults. She has been down the country for the past two weeks. She even has a culchie accent on the phone when she rings every-night. She is amused at the different smells in the country. She finds some of the big animals in the fields very unusual. She was telling me that she wishes that ‘the gaffers’ (adults in her life) would turn off the TV and the Radio. She doesn’t want to hear any more about Covid. She is also quite fed up with the moaning and whinging that goes on in the Media. She thinks that they love problems.
She likes the fresh air. She likes even the rain. She likes the wide open spaces. She likes looking out at the river Blackwater.
She likes meeting new people. She like exercising her limbs and dancing. She finds something new and exciting every day.
She delights in the world revealing itself to her each day. She is eager to wake up and wonder what she will discover now.
She cannot understand how the adults appear to take everything for granted. She loves her new world. It is so exciting.
She had a serious thought this week. Someone must have been talking about the Gospel for Sunday. Indi became concerned. This Jesus person who is full of love was very wicked. So she said. How could he treat a woman so badly? He even used bad language. Bread to dogs. Leftovers. Then Indi got all Shakespearean – ‘If you prick us, do we not bleed; if you tickle us, do we not laugh?’ She then recalled a song from somewhere ‘What colour is God’s skin?’ (Up With People). She is at a loss to understand how there are outsiders and insiders; how there are distinctions between people rather than discoveries to be made. She ended her words then by saying: What a great mother that woman was? She stopped and said – “Oh my God. Aren’t parents marvellous? My mammy and daddy would do anything for me. They really love me. I know.” Those are her words.
Seamus Ahearne osa