“The whole world is in a terrible state o’ chassis.“
The talking Tolka:
‘Nothing permanent except change. No-one steps into the same river twice. For it is not the same river and s(he) is not the same person!’
It was the Tolka River that spoke to me of such things this morning. Yes. I know. I heard it way back in old God’s time. It was Heraclitus. He sounded very profound. The River made it seem like gibberish. I could only laugh. I know everything is in flux. In a state of chassis (Juno).
If a Martian dropped in on our Media reports, that Martian would abscond immediately to anywhere but here. The News is collapsing under the weight of its own seriousness. They are drooling in dreariness. There is more to life than flux, chassis and change. ‘Pay attention’ as Mary Oliver would say.
Variations on a theme:
I smiled back at the Tolka. The River amuses me. It is quite moody. It is very temperamental. Sometimes it is quiet and almost silent. Sections are noisy and angry. Others are gentle, soothing and whispering. The variations on a theme, are reassuring. Whatever about Heraclitus, I didn’t and don’t intend to step into the water, to test any theory.
What is permanent for me each morning and yet different each day? The chattering of the water. The birds wandering about. The herons always arriving to call me into stillness. The sun sneaking in, to light up the bushes and trees, which can be deceptive these days, as it almost suggests Autumn. The weeping willow waving hello. The paths coaxing me along. My fellow walkers. The smell of the grass. The reflections on the pond – changing but permanent. The morning invitation to ramble. The artistic expressions in the sky. The beautiful air. The sameness and the differences.
What really matters?
What is permanent? Words are cheap and we use them casually: Love, friendship, kindness, graciousness, affection, godliness, faith, goodness are everywhere to be treasured and appreciated. Cursing the darkness is always an easy option. Lighting candles is rather better. If Covid is allowed to talk to us rather than cause us to moan, then we might savour and hug the wonder of permanency. Oh little things matter. Little moments. Little chats. Great little people. Little droplets of humour. Little kindnesses. Even Lyric FM.
Love and helplessness:
We buried young Michael yesterday. He was 44. His death was tragic. He was autistic. He never related. Never showed feelings. Was bullied and scoffed at, all his days. His family tried everything to reach him. Somehow and strangely, he found a kind of home at Br Kevin’s place in Church Street, which he visited daily on his bike. We don’t know how or why. Michael was locked into his own world. None of us can make sense of it. Or understand it or explain his living or his dying. But the message of his funeral for all of us was: We can’t fix everything. There is so much we can never understand. We can only keep on doing the best we can. There is no room for bitterness or anger. All any of us could say and see was: The extraordinary gift/ stamina of grace and love in parents who look after such a child, such an adult. It was the humble privilege of ministry to be there in some way with this family. Being lost for words was good; he was always lost for words. That privilege is permanent. We need to stop and think with gratitude of the gift of health and wellness. What we have, always matters. But thankfulness doesn’t come easy to any of us.
The love of a granny:
If Covid is allowed to speak to our innards; then we might wake up our minds and hearts to something more. (Gratitude by Mary Oliver asks the right questions!)
Our formal Liturgy had become packed with the accretions of time. They have become rusty. The Rituals need to be stripped down to more accessible gestures.
The packaging with archaic verbiage, needs to be recycled to the dustbin of history. Covid asks us to look at what is really important.
I looked at the diaconate of Tony (a friend) in St Mary’s Portree, Skye on Monday. The simple gesture of granny Pola taking each child up for Communion with her arms around them was special. It oozed with love. There is real diaconate. I couldn’t help wondering if celibacy makes for detached-faith and non-incarnational religion. I had a caller at the door. He asked if I had a church For Sale. I couldn’t grasp what he was on about. It could have been about the West. But we do have a church for sale. Our Church as we knew it; has gone. We can sell it off. Our Liturgy as we knew it; has gone.
Every day, our Eucharist is like the Tolka River. Sometimes gentle. Most times noisy. Always soothing. The camaraderie is there and very real. People talk. Talking/sharing and then real Communion happens.
We cannot as Church, talk of Eucharist, if there isn’t space for real life-experiences of God to be shared. If there aren’t God-moments spoken of; then there is only scaffolding but no real graced-contact. If there is no communion of life-stories. If there is no communication. As Church so often, the respect for the gift of each other, is missing. We speak. We don’t listen. Many don’t listen to us. Or respect us enough to ask us anything. There is a sense that the monopoly of wisdom is only present in the few; in the ordained or the gaffers. We have made a farce of ministry by ritually excluding so many. The incarnation goes on. We can’t stop it. Let’s not get in the way of it. We are now learning that the new world of Eucharist on-line matters. We try to make that real too. Expansive. Inclusive. Imaginative. Exuberant. Hospitable.
Covid and respect:
Berlin D2 (Dame Street) wasn’t edifying last weekend. The Restaurateur was embarrassed but rather combative with Samantha Libreri. His comeback all the time was: “It lasted only 20 seconds!” His defensiveness was aggressive. Somehow Heraclitus has a point. Our world as we knew it, has been utterly changed. Insecurity is rampant. The school children need to be back to some structure and routine. Jobs are no longer certain. Planning for the future is impossible. Holidaying is risky and not recommended. Over 70s have become very old. Nursing homes are not very attractive. Meat factories are high risk. Direct Provision is significant and ideal, for a cluster. Attendance at games is troublesome. The directive being sent to parents re the opening of schools is bureaucratic and necessary; the official document even has a spelling mistake!!! But what is happening? Respect for each other and responsibility for one another. Or should be. It must be.
My night caller:
Little Indi rings me every night. She is now 20 weeks (I think). She feels grown up. She wonders at the preoccupations of this adult world. They fuss and fret. So she says. She can’t grasp at all why adults get uptight. She wants to talk about little things. Well food matters. A clean bum is rather important. Kicking her legs is great fun. She loves colours. She delights in holding things with her two hands. She can roll. She likes the air. She enjoys seeing the sun and the shadows. She likes the excitement of meeting new people. She sees differences and sameness. She knows that everyone feeds her curiosity. She needs people. She gets annoyed when people play with phones or tablets or computers. She wants them to pay attention to life. She can even recount all that has happened her in those 20 weeks. She delights in what she has to discover every day of her life. She hopes that she will never stop learning.
She was intrigued with Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, Gabriele Giffords, and wondered what Hillary Clinton meant by saying “there can’t be another woulda, coulda, shoulda election.” (Democratic Convention in USA). She wanted to know all about empathy and she was impressed by the gutsy, caring, feeling, hearty way they expressed themselves. I don’t know why or how but she loved Ronnie O Sullivan too! He seemed very real. And she likes to hear of ‘Grand Designs.’ Anyone with a dream and with the backbone to build the dream has her giggling and gurgling with delight. Young Indi could teach us so much. We were young once until we got lost in the nonsense of the unimportant.
Seamus Ahearne osa.