What a strange, fragile, thing Life is.
Out of my window, I’m watching the gulls swoop above the trees still blowing through the remnants of last night’s gales.
The sun is trying to creep through the cloud, one minute it succeeds, the next, it is hidden away again.
How much longer will we wait before it makes another appearance?
How lucky am I to have the luxury of this time to sit and put pen to paper?
I’ve just seen the swallow! Every year for the last decade, I have marked the seasons by the arrival and departure of two swallows into an old barn at the back of my house. For the last two years, only one has returned, but it is so wonderful to see him, swooping and wheeling across the sky. It is like the owl I sometimes hear at night – he is also alone now, as I have listened in vain for his mate for some time.
Am I just an incurable romantic? Probably. I know I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes, but maybe, in our world now, that is alright too.
The birds are still chirping despite the turbulence of our world… it always reminds me of a line in the epic ” Birdsong” by Sebastian Foulkes… his description of the bloody battle, so many casualties strewn across the fields… yet the birds were still singing. It is a haunting image.
We can learn so much from nature.. it’s constancy, the order of the changing seasons. I love the constant, disciplined rotation of flowers in our beautiful Cornish hedgerows for example – always in the correct sequence, maybe a little early, maybe later, dependent also on the wind and the rain.
Everything interconnected, not one without the other.
Just as we are all inter-dependent, reliant upon each other. And now, more so than ever, I think we are realising that.
That to exist and live our lives fully and overcome these terrible events of terror, we need to acknowledge our inter-dependency.
All the terrible images and events of the last few weeks in the UK alone – in London, Manchester, London, the abiding images are not of the weasley, cowardly terrorists, but of the strength and bravery of the survivors and victims, leaning on each other, holding each other up, the selfless acts of bravery, protecting each other from evil……. strangers, but dependent upon each other.
That gives us the hope that we must and will, unite behind.
Because we are all affected by these atrocious acts of terror , wherever we live, whatever we do.
On Sunday morning, I admit that at just after 6am, I struggled to read the news of the London attacks. Something came from deep within, welled up and my voice began to wobble. I felt foolish, here I was, 250 miles away, with no direct connection. I felt guilty.. how dare I cry, when there are families grieving, crying over inconsolable loss?
I was later joined by faith leaders, the Rev Steven Wild and the President of the Methodist Conference, Roger Walton and they were pillars of strength sitting across the desk. A shared connection and understanding. Actually we didn’t need too many words.
And after the programme, my colleagues and I shared silent hugs.
It reminded me of 9/11 and how, standing in the newsroom at TV Centre, you could hear a pin drop as we watched in shock the second plane crash into the World Trade Centre. The newsroom, full of so many people, silent, rooted to the spot, for a moment unable to believe what was unfolding, before having to respond, springing into action.
How can any of us make any sense of all of this? Where is the hope?
The answer, was there within a few hours on Sunday. The One Love Manchester concert.
It was the shining reality that when confronted with darkness and hate, light and love will always win out.
The words of the Crowded House song rang out around Old Trafford…….
“They come to build a wall between us,
We know they won’t win.”
And trendy young pop stars dared to mention, God! There’s hope for the future.
It’s all a bit like being on a macabre roller coaster isn’t it?
But the more these dreadful incidents shake the order and stability of our lives, the more we recognise that our bonds of unity and understanding, our dependence upon one another, is a bond which grows stronger the more it is challenged.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Once again, let us #pray and #PrayForManchester and #PrayForLondon
” Turn your ear to me,
Come quickly to my rescue;
Be my rock of refuge,
A strong fortress to save me……..
Deliver me from my enemies
And from those who pursue me.”