Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Places - a shameless act of plagiarism

My good friend the arborist and writer Mr Chambers had an interesting post on his blog today about a happy place - follow the link above to see his and read his thoughts. However I liked the idea of where is your happy place - presumably a beautiful place and what effect does it have it on you.

For me it is the old monastic site of Nendrum ..... A monastery was first built on the site in the fifth century - by St Mochaoi in the 5th century - this rests on a story about St. Patrick written c. AD 900. It is on an island just of the west coast of Strangford Lough ...... you drive across a little causeway to get to it. It is for me one of the most peaceful places on earth and one I visit as often as i can. It does feel sacred the ground somehow still retains the memory of 1000 years of prayer on the site. On a summer evening it is place of rare beauty with great views over the lough from all sides. One new years day we travelled down and the frost was thick on the ground but in the winter sun we were all moved to stillness and contemplation by it. As some good friends recently reminded me on a sunday evening - this is a place where it is good to

Be Still and Know that I am God
Be Still and Know
Be Still

Sometimes when doubt - that shadow cast by faith threatens to blot out the light I go there and BE and it sees me through the night.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When the way is not a way but a place

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

On Monday night a few of us went out canoeing or paddling as my more experienced friends call it. We did about 6 miles around some of the islands of Strnagford Lough. It was incredibly peaceful , almost outside of time. The sunsetting sky was sublime - pinks and purples poking through the grey clouds gradually darkening and Venus rising in the night sky joined by a few stards as we finished our paddle. We felt at peace and discussed the journey of life we were all on and how what we understand of faith is not sermons or singing but rather journeying with a group of people through the sacred moment. It was a beautiful evening and reminded me of an old Wendell berry Poem - the title of todays post is also I think from a berry poem and it perfectly summed up my mood. So try it - get out to the wild places , rest in the Grace of the world and be free.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Words That were spoken to me as a Child

So a week has passed. By the curious way we number our lives I'm a year older. I've also been in hopsital for a routine knee op on my cruciate ligament. It feels good thanks but its always interesting going into hospital because having a general anaesthetic theres always that little doubt at the back of your mind about the danger of it all. As I was being injected with the magic fluid to make me sleep , the only words I could think of were those spoken to me as a child and still my refuge and comfort. And so like a little child I went to sleep saying the Lords Prayer and woke up an hour later in recovery with it still on my lips.

Maybe we do have to become "as a little child" to see the kingdom of heaven.