This week we are having our first proper family holiday in approximately 6 years. We have been away for the odd weekend to family weddings and we have stayed with friends in Aberdeen for 5 days, a few years back. But this week we holiday’d as a family together in a tiny little rural setting in deepest Cornwall. We are staying in a beautiful bright home nestled in the wonderful hilly lands of a surrounding farm. On arrival the first thing that caught my attention was the beautiful Magdalene Blue hydrangea’s blessing our little enclosed garden. The beautiful burnished reds, greens and yellows are only just beginning to create fireworks on the tips of the leaves of the green trees, another few weeks and everything will be aflame.
Just across the garden, beyond the old wooden farmhouse gate is a cattle stall, and for the first time yesterday we went to explore. Abundant fresh hay lay on the ground making it look cosy and warm, and although it was covered above from the elements the sides of course were open. The beautiful baby calves were only weeks old, their eyelashes curling around their beautiful expressive black eyes, so full of God, no wonder in some countries they are looked upon with such reverence.
My thoughts take me back to two thousand years ago, to a kindly man and his blessed but exhausted wife, having no choice but to pass through the ‘one way no turning back’ physical endurance of a cold winter labour, met with no midwives, no hospital reassurance and none of the creature comforts of a home-birth. It is a timely reminder in the face of hurricane Sandy that we need for nothing in the way of security, other than to be safe and still in God, our desperately needed shelter. I breast-fed all of my babies and where ever we went, we went together. Nothing else was required, nothing else mattered at all, we needed nothing other than each other, a breast, a baby, and each other. That is exactly how it is for us, we are all just like the vulnerable and dearly cherished newborn, God is like the gentle mother, suckling us at the breast, caressing us with radiating warmth, protecting us from all harm, and intimately loving us without condition.
The tiny calves in the cattle stall were very wary of us, rightly so. It took at least a couple of visits of us just gently cooing and talking and looking into their shy eyes with a mixture of compassion, sorrow and Love before they were even able to trust us enough to approach the grill that separated animal from human. The slightest tic of a movement (we learnt) set everything back and we had a bigger job to regain their trust than we had to begin with, but with perseverance we made good. We eventually were able to calmly stroke and rub the heads of the braver ones between the ears, contact which the shyest calves may never know. Contact (which their eyes told us) they seemed to yearn for with their whole bodies, but having been separated so young from any source of female nurturing Love, in their almost heart-broken, confused, hesitant, insecure state, it was contact almost easier to forego. And yet the ones that came for contact looked somehow happier and more content.
Yesterday I rescued a stunned young common sparrow from the window sill. There is a beautiful old gnarled tree only just on the outside of the conservatory. Its many overreaching arms almost enter the glass room, but for the glass. The magic when we first arrived here of the many little birds and tits flitting through the branches boughs and leaves, with a busy chirpy happiness, from feeder to feeder was totally enchanting. Yesterday one lost its bearings and flew in through the open door straight into a pane of glass and sat stunned on the window ledge. It didn’t even flinch when I lay my hand over his back and enclosed him in my palm. The children were able (with a tip of a finger) to stroke his soft feathery head and admire his beautiful markings, before I returned him to the tree to recover. Its funny how we go through life naming the hims and hers, when really there are at times no distinction between the two. The only real distinction is between us and God, and maybe even then there is no real distinction to be made if Truth be told, as the essence of us all is in Him. The only distinctions are the ones we maybe put their ourselves. It is so easy to see God when we look at innocent animals, it is so much harder to see God when we look at man.
I come from a family of four children, my mother is the youngest of eleven children (many now dead) I have five children of my own. I observe and watch and pay attention to their pattens and behaviours, and the ways of their being. I think of my own childhood and that of my siblings and peers, and I remember the behaviours that used to seem so very complex. I look at the people around me now and it all suddenly seems so simple, the complex behaviours people do because of their need for Love. We all want Love, we want to feel Loved and cherished, nothing more, and in return we want to Love and cherish, and live out our lives and the remainder of our days in the ‘fall out’ of that Love.
The complex behaviours come about as a result of the falsities we place in the way of that Love, we are competitive and make false rivals where there are none, and feel frustrations at our inability to communicate effectively, we swing between the pangs of low self-esteem or egotism instead of just allowing ourselves to be Loved when Love Loves. We feel sold short when we aren’t being reached by pure Love, a little is apparently not enough. The obvious (though false) alternative is to believe that there is a security by needing to be Loved by nothing, and we kid ourselves that by that we gain Love in everything, else we only concern ourselves with giving Love and in the giving we try to convince ourselves that we feel Loved. I think there may be a little something we are all missing. It’s all about response. It’s all about OUR response. If we could only all respond to everything with Love. Only there, in God who is Love and spirit, does our Heaven await. For what in ‘mirror fashion’ is our response is in part your response. The our is in the your. The your is in the our.
My husband lately has been a little bit like Joseph. All enduring of the things life has placed upon us. He hurt me more than once, on many levels, unintentionally but selfishly and carelessly, painfully in fact. I of course forgive him, but my response back was not one filled with immediate Grace, but one concerned with my dignity and self-preservation. It was a heart-breaking, difficult and excruciating lesson for us both. Our situation meant that healing seemed impossible. But God is God and He alone transcends all obstacles, and Love has other means and ways of healing. My husbands kindness and not just willingness but happiness to serve because of Love has been honorable, full of fortitude and really quite humbling. God has somehow written a unique script for my life, I am in a very privileged place, He has blessed my life with faith and grace, he has given me a family, a community and autonomy, and it is there within my unique life, that I try to separate the wheat from the chaff and pray within my very deepest prayers that I am inspired to live my life and one day return to my heavenly home by responding to the specks of Love, with Love.