wandering in wonder

sharing, on a pilgrims journey

Multi cultural joy/’My Britain’

This is my Britain…. (at it’s best)….

Today I sat reading my beautiful poetry book in Trafalgar Square. Children in school uniform chatted happily whilst sitting on the sides of the fountain. Suddenly there was a commotion and at least 40 children whooped with the joy of recognition and shouted a name.

Trafalgar Square, London

A woman with a lovely smile was beseiged by these lively children. As they rushed towards her – children who are Black, White (blond, brunette), Asian (hair flowing, hair covered) – their joy was united.

How much I loved Britain in that moment – this place where we can enjoy, respect, accept, and certainly expect differences, and yet learn to share our joys and sorrows regardless – not because the differences don’t matter (they do, they’re part of who we each are), but because as we share life together.

I believe it was Moltmann who was among the first to write that effective Interfaith work needed to be undertaken for shared causes and actions, not just for it’s own sake (not ‘we must get on together’, but ‘let’s do this/solve this (whatever) together’); and it was C.S. Lewis who wrote that Friendship had to be ‘about something’ (“…even if it is shared enthusiasm for white mice…”).

It is in sharing life, that we find points of unity, common feeling, connection, purpose…

…and when we share life with each other, we can get to move on to being people who, In the words of Paul McCartney, ‘side by side, hand in hand, we all stand together’.

So thanks to the children and the popular teacher in Trafalgar Square this afternoon – you did my heart good!

(I just re-found this – wrote it in November! so here it is…finally!)

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Beauty, Interfaith, Joy, Life, Light up my life, Peace, People | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

congrats to Carol Ann Duffy!

So proud to have a new Poet Laureate – and yes, it is, after all quite a new thing (in this day and age even…) to have a woman in the role.

all the best to her!

Below is a great poem of Carol Ann Duffy’s which articulates amazingly what it’s like in that difficult bit of life when we’re away from the one we love…

Words, Wide Night by Carol Ann Duffy

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

May 4, 2009 Posted by | love, People, Poem, waiting | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the winner takes it all

The temptation to react to other people can be so strong.

I am most myself when I decide to be who I am, regardless of how other people decide to be.

so when someone is mean to me, unkind, tells lies, I still decide to be who I am.

So I responded calmly. 

I do not raise my voice when they shout and wave their arms around. It’s not my way.

I challenged the lie. I state that I found a particular thing unkind.

But I don’t ‘get even’.

or maybe I do? because maybe getting even, or even winning, is not letting that person control who I am, how I behave, or who I become.

September 1, 2008 Posted by | 'Being', balance, Challenge, courage, Hold on, Life, Never give up, People, tough times, voice of hope | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

doughnut miracle

If you’ve ever travelled on the London Underground (‘tube’) you’ll know there’s an unwritten, unbreakable rule that one does not, under any circumstances, smile or acknowledge other passengers.                      

 You may offer another passenger your seat, or help with luggage, but not strike up conversations or smile at strangers. It’s just how it is.

 As I am generally just on the tube for the day (i.e. not a regular commuter), I often play a game to push this rule to the limits – I give a smile to another passenger and see what happens (usually nothing – btw, it’s a polite, British ‘acknowledging’ smile, you understand, not a huge grin!).

Imagine my joy yesterday then, when on the Central Line I glanced along the row of seated passengers and saw a young woman looking guiltily at a sugary doughnut she was holding. In a moment of miracle, we ‘caught each others eyes’ and both laughed! She took her first bite and looked back to me again, and we laughed again.

So that was my doughnut miracle… little moments of human connection and shared joy…even on the tube!

June 25, 2008 Posted by | Joy, Life, Light, People, Surprise | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘I am what I am’!

Today a ‘helpful’ friend who’s staying a while decided that being helpful meant picking up my precious piles of paper and ‘bits’ and wouldn’t stop despite polite entreaties.

I ‘have a system’ and rarely lose things. Why oh why should someone who visits my home feel the need or feel they have the right to insist on moving my things around, even throwing things away. (I will now have to go through bin bags – oh what fun.)

I felt mean and horrible when I had to ask for the third time ‘please stop, I won’t be able to find things if you move them around’. She meant so well and so intended to be so helpful.

No doubt I have character flaws, and perhaps needing to have my stuff left alone – even if it does look untidy – is one of them. I also procrastinate – I don’t enjoy the untidy bits, but I just don’t get around to clearing it up sometimes – other things, like friends and work, are much more important to me so that’s where my energy goes. I don’t share the house, so it doesn’t inconvenience anyone else if my stuff is in a pile somewhere.

Maybe someone else would have been delighted. I really, really wasn’t.

I may be alone in this thought, but seriously – being tidy does not have any moral high ground! It doesn’t actually make someone a ‘better’ person! This may sound obvious, but if you’re naturally tidy, have a think about it.

If you’re a tidiness freak, here’s a little message for ya!  – the untidy people in your life may be quite happy and not at all inferior for being untidy. It’s fine if you’re tidy – go for it, enjoy it, alphabetise your CD’s and iron your socks – enjoy! But we’re not all the same. I have so many other flaws to work on that really – being untidy is the least of my worres and trust me, when it comes to the end of the line, my big regrets in life aren’t going to be ‘I wish I did more housework’, or ‘I wish I’d been tidier’ !

I’ve stopped apologising now. I’ve realised it’s time to ‘come out of the closet’ (as it were) – I’m untidy and at least in my own home, that’s just how it is – I am what I am!

June 18, 2008 Posted by | 'Being', acceptance, balance, Life, People | , , , , , | 4 Comments

smell the roses…

Generally, in every day life, I’m pretty darned good at ‘smelling the roses’ – I notice little beauties of life and even literally stop to smell the roses when I’m walking through a neighbourhood and plants overhang the pavement/walkway.

What i’m being reminded of just recently is that I need to do that in my whole life too.

I have things i want to happen in my life – and i get impatient. I try not to ‘go on’ to God, but I kind of end up being just a tad repetitive in my requests (sorry God!).

What’s so easy to miss though, is the love and blessedness in my life now.

To be looking forward impatiently to a future i dream of, and miss the fact that my life right now (though not untouched by pains) is actually blessed beyond my imaginings. In fact, I’m ridiculously over-blessed.

For my future hopes, I have felt God tell me so many times, ‘It’s all in hand’, yet I find it so hard to ‘leave it there’ and get on with today.

 

                                          

rose in my garden - lean in and breathe in - you may just smell it!

I want to be better at ‘smelling the roses’ in my friendships, enjoy and savour every moment of joy that comes my way, to abandon myself to God in the ‘now’, to learn the lessons God is teaching me directly and through my amazing, beautiful friendships right now.

I mustn’t waste the lessons of now, or miss the fun of now, by only waiting impatiently for hoped-for future joys.

 

June 10, 2008 Posted by | Beauty, Challenge, Garden, Hold on, Joy, Life, Nature, Never give up, People, timing, Trust, waiting | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Monastic Way

“When we look at the world around us we see

the earth,

the sky,

the water,

the plants,

the trees,

the animals

and people.

But what we have to do is look behind all these phenomena

and discover their hidden source.

Most people stop with the phenomena:

they appreciate the earth or sky or flowers

or the sun or stars,

they admire the beauty

but they do not try to find the hidden source of the sky and flowers,

of every single thing.

We see beyond only when we look with the eyes of the heart.”

– Bede Griffiths, OSB  

 

May 12, 2008 Posted by | balance, Beauty, Bede Griffiths, Desert Wisdom, Joy, Life, Nature, People | , , , , , , | 16 Comments

excellent investments…

Yesterday and today I’ve had the joy of spending time with one of my favourite 4 year olds (and his lovely parents!).

As a result, I’ve discussed dinosaur bones over dinner, filmed his ‘dancing’ (on request) and his air-guitar to Bob Dylan songs (where did he learn about air-guitar?!), been told I buy THE coolest presents ever (I scored mega with a £2 transformer toy I took for him!), and have pretended I couldn’t see him countless times today when he was ‘hiding’ in a garden (he giggles too much to be a good hider!).

Since his birth, he’s been one of the most healing presences in my world – there’s something about connecting with his wild world that completely ‘takes me out of myself’ and helps me to see a different perspective.

I thank God for that ‘little bundle’, who’s growing into a ‘big boy’…(or if he had his way, growing into a ‘Power Ranger’!). He gives so much love, and is like a literal tonic – everything seems better after a few hours with him! :0) 

I love his parents, and was quite settled that I’d love their child when ‘it’ arrived, whoever he/she turned out to be – I don’t think I ever realised I’d gain quite so much back. Good returns eh! Better than any other kind of bank I know!

 

May 5, 2008 Posted by | Beauty, Joy, Life, Light up my life, People, voice of hope | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

uniqueness – pebbles on the shore

                              salt water pebbles

I was at the beach last Saturday morning – lovely walk. As always, I noticed some particularly special pebbles as I walked at the sea edge.

I always have to fight the temptation to collect pebbles and shells – I find so much beauty in them and enjoy to notice something special in them – the patterns, how the light falls on them, their shapes, colours…

I was thinking too – how if you look from a distance they’re just ‘pebbles’ – non-descript perhaps, uniform, nothing special. it’s the looking up close, and when they’re at their best – glistening with sea water and sunlight – that they begin to look extraordinary…

…I think that’s true for people too – maybe from a distance anyone can look ordinary, nothing special – but when we get a bit closer, take the trouble to get to know them, see them in their best moments as well as their worst, that we start to understand what’s special about them. We stop seeing ‘just pebbles’ or ‘just people’, and recognise the worth of each, and let them touch our lives with their uniqueness.

April 17, 2008 Posted by | beach, Beauty, Joy, Life, Nature, pebbles, People, seaside, special | Leave a comment

walking together

                                         walking together. copyright image.

April 2, 2008 Posted by | Art, Emmaus, People, tough times | Leave a comment