I thought I dreamt of a forest once, darkly green, a place where the wind could hide and becoming lost we would find ourselves. I thought I dreamt of fallen leaves, of decay enriching the soil; life rising from the sweet sting of impermanence. Now awake, enclosed by undying concrete, I think of the beginnings that will never come because of the endings that cannot.
After perhaps fifteen minutes or so I gave up looking for the song thrush. Not because I am impatient, though there is that, not because I didn’t want my coffee to get cold, though there is that; no, it is because I realised that as long as I was searching I was not listening, as long as my mind was grasping my heart was not receiving, as long as my eyes were straining to find the source of the music I could not stop to revel in the fact that there should be music at all.
All that is good is growing.
Yesterday and so many yesterdays
it seemed dead. But now
the deep God stirs in her earth,
and seed and root remember sky
and brightened make their move
towards it. Life rubs its eyes, spring
no longer a dream to sustain
through the colding days
but a reality born from sunlight
and bluebells and the sure refrain
of the chiffchaff.
All that is good is growing;
the darker season has had its time
and will do so again, a knowledge
to make these thrill bloomings
all the sweeter. The return of the swallows
is only marked because they left,
and will leave. But today in the fields
the lambs are becoming sure of their feet,
and green is dancing once more in the trees,
and in the gardens there is a tenderness
showing itself in the eyes of the flowers.
I see that I am not dead,
nor is the hope that I was once born into.
I see the meaning in our burials –
that despairing we might rise for air
and unexpectedly find it, and explore it
with lungs made new by thankfulness.
Even though the last stands of cold
may cling to us, along with the clenching memory
of winters past – all those dyings of our hearts –
even so, today and so many todays:
all that is good is growing.
First, open your arms
to your own humanity;
give the gorgeous mess
of your entirety
a warm welcome, remembering
that all of you is loved,
free from limit or condition.
Second, drop your heart
into a pool of wonder –
the sacred, healing healing water
found wherever there are trees
or birds or streams or hills
or the opulence of an unfiltered sky.
Do not let the screens hem you in;
seek instead the heaven-wrought,
the Spirit-woven –
all that brightly sings
of the Abundance.
Third, let your love travel
beyond all bounds,
let the curtains tear before it
so that nothing is left unadored –
including your brokenness
and the failings of the world.
Every soul walks with a limp,
and not one is unworthy
of compassion’s warm embrace.
It’s easy to look at the news these days and feel hopeless. Politicians are dragging democracy through the dirt, xenophobia and racism keep rearing their ugly heads, and all the while the poor and the marginalised are ignored.
But there is hope. History is littered with the bones of empires. Power is powerless against love, which is the only thing that lasts forever. If you tread all over other people for your own gain, you are setting yourself against the truest and deepest forces in the universe.
God is a direction. We are moving forward. We always have been and we always will be. And the power-grabbers and money-snatchers will always get left behind.
The fall of every empire
the fires of oppression
cannot be sustained.
The cry for deliverance
will always be heard –
liberation never fails:
hope has the final word.
So do not despair
at the empires around you,
even though power and greed
and corruption surround you;
lift up your heart,
lift it to the light,
for the Spirit of the Ages
bends to our plight.