The God of Small Things

A hidden gem:

A hidden gem was restored and revealed.  Moore’s ‘Knife’s edge’ for WB Yeats, is on display once more. The surrounding paths and terraces are again on view in Stephen’s Green.   Some of us had even forgotten that it was there.  I don’t fully understand Moore’s abstracts but the idea of revelation, stirs my soul. And I begin to think of what else is lost or missing or is waiting to be discovered in daily life.  I am taking a loan of Arundhati Roy’s title ‘The God of small things’ as today’s theme.

The sun smiled on us:

I walked this morning in Tolka Park. Vanessa was the only other person out.  She is out every morning before beginning work as a home-help/carer. We meet every morning around 6.30.  The Tolka River was busy today.  It hadn’t time to talk. It is usually languid as it meanders along. Today, even its hair, had gone white (froth).  My pal the heron, didn’t bother appearing, to salute me. I was lonely.  I was recalling what Liz said (parish sister). ‘If we had got this wet weather early on, in the lockdown, we would never have coped.’  She is right.  We were blessed.
That beautiful weather over some nine weeks was delightful. Every day, the sun smiled on us. It didn’t show pity for us, but rather touched us and hugged us when no-one else could, or would.  As we look back, it is important to notice what a blessing it was.  Even the very simple thing of being able to put out the washing, and letting the heat of the gentle breeze, doing the drying, was special. These days the rain doesn’t stop. However the grass changes colour and the greening of our land is happening once more. The hose ban has been lifted!

The experiences of lockdown:

The first weekend (Churches opening) has passed. Mass was by ticket only which is very difficult. We chatted during Mass.  The sharing was like a torrent of feelings. It was raw.  Some who had never spoken before at Mass, revealed the story of their innards.  It was very moving, very beautiful, very emotional and very rich.  It showed the vast variety of experiences.
We had our PPC plus Parish Team Meeting on Tuesday.  The Sharing was powerful.  It emerged like a jigsaw of experiences.  The mixture of hues was extraordinary. It was indeed a kaleidoscope of different views. The honesty and spontaneity was special.  Ann finished the sharing. She works in Beaumont.  The reality from her was striking. Was I ever more proud of what our Community is like? I hardly think so. The God of small things was everywhere.   We did look at the shape of things to come as people of faith; as parish.  The notion of being no longer in control of anything,  was challenging. We did note that the things that we so often saw as important – faded into the background, in this new scheme of things.  We also mentioned the strange plans of the Augustinian hierarchy to abscond from the parish and the need for conversation.  The song Vincent might even apply!

The small things trip you up:

The new Government took over.  It was reminded very quickly of Albert Reynolds (supposed quotation).  “It’s amazing. You cross the big hurdles, and when you get to the small ones, you get tripped up.”  (Brendan Smyth had hardly much to do with the Government but he did this time!) It is easy to recall Garret Fitzgerald (and John Bruton) with Vat on children’s shoes. And now it was Barry Cowen with his drink-driving charge and Billy Kelleher from Brussels who scuttled these early days.  Even Michael Ring, Jim O Callaghan, Dara Calleary, Michael Moynihan, Willie O Dea and John McGuinness were minor distractions compared to the noise on Barry and Billy.  Oh it is the little things that matter.

Ode to a mouse  or a spider:

Robbie Burns writes well on the little things. When he was ploughing, he disturbed the home of a mouse.  He apologised in a poem.  ‘Ode to a mouse.’  He admits too, how careless humans are and disrespectful of the social status of life where every little mouse (and everything else) has a place.   But then he wanders towards his own problems:

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Robbie had a friend in Robert the Bruce (of Scotland) .  The Scottish myth catches an important Message, for all of us.  Robert was on the run from the English and was hiding in a cave.  He watched a little spider building a web. It didn’t matter how often the spider failed, he kept going until he finished the job.  Robert was inspired. And so we can.  It is the little things always.

“The best laid schemes of mice and men (and women too)  go often askew.”  (Burns)

Plastic bags and smoking ban:

But the Government can take heart.  It was the little things.  Micheal Martin can bask in the sunshine of the past.  The smoking ban. (2004). That one will be always remembered and he will be associated with it.  And earlier the pioneering move on plastic bags (2002) with Noel Dempsey).

The blessedness of little things:

Oh it is the little things.  It is the gestures. The smile. The word. The call. The thank you.  The hello.  The –is there anything I can do?  The appreciation. The praise. The touch. The shopping for the cocooned. The neighbours on the roads as a guard of honour for the funerals. The handing in of the Trócaire boxes. The collections in case the parish might be short. The opening up. The disinfecting of the churches. The tidy up.  The patience of everyone.  The small talk of life; the chatter; the gossip; the bantering; the raimeis of everyday.   And what then is prayer?  It is noticing the little things. The little people. The little gifts. The little beauty. The hidden gems. The wonder.  It is being able to see. To take off the shoes. To bow the head. To be grateful.  To being aware.  To looking back and remembering the graciousness of life in people. It is looking around and seeing the Godly image in everyone. It is being at Mass and knowing that it is holy ground and listening.  It is watching with amusement and amazement the scatter of seed in life and seeing the gentle growth. It is the marvel of Isaiah’s words on the effectiveness of God’s word which depends on our response. Oh it is the little things that matter.  Every day and every moment is grace and blessing.

Mass on Facebook:

We finished last week. Our Recordings of Mass for Facebook.  Margaret and Seamus (Singer, musician and producer) decided that some of us looked so forlorn that something had to be done.   The extraordinary work they did, putting these Masses together, was miraculous to some of us.  Mass appeared on screen which looked quite different to what we thought we had done.  Our little contribution was small. The work of many, was enormous.  What can be done when all the little things are put together is revelatory.  The God of small things (us) became a coalition of wonder.  And the final production was Mass as we think it could be and should be. A proper celebration of our community and a reflection of all.  It was grace and prayer.  We are indeed blessed.


Still I rise   (Maya Angelou)

You can shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.


William Blake

To see a world in a grain of sand;
And a heaven in a wild flower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand;
And eternity in an hour.


Fifteen week old Indi is right.  Adults are very sleepy people. They miss out on the gems of life. She is definite that she will never grow up to be half alive in adulthood. She even accuses all religious adults of being untrue to their God, if they ignore the gems.

Seamus Ahearne osa

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