Friday, March 21, 2008

War and Peace

Gratitude to Shirley for reminding me today, this Good Friday, of the hymn, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. it has long been one of my favourite hymnal melodies.

and so it seems appropriate to have this extract from the Atonement OST, Elegy for Dunkirk, as an accompaniment to moments of lamentation in an Easter week marking five years too long of war in Iraq and remembering the thousands of lives lost, be they American, British, Iraqi.
one life sacrificed to armed conflict is one life too many and we need forgiveness for we know exactly what we do. so many families coping without their loved ones for months on end, and so many families who will never get them back. it is hard to contemplate the hope of Easter in the face of so much loss and fear. and yet somehow we have to keep on hoping...

the following prayer and the words of that wonderful hymn go out to my dear friend Gar who is looking after his two children while his wonderful Autumn is in Iraq acting as a military chaplain, and to Chris... my dear brother by grace. when we lose sight of hope may we remember to interpret ourselves by love... and forgiveness...


Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,
In purer lives thy service find,
In deeper reverence praise.

In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow thee.

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love!
Interpreted by love!

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
The beauty of thy peace.

Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still small voice of calm!
O still small voice of calm!


May the force of life that cannot be stopped, who has given us a new birth by water and the spirit, and reminded us that we live forgiven and renewed, give us the courage and strength to face each new day without fear. Amen.*

peace to you and yours this Eastertime...


* prayer written by Kate Bradsen for use during the baptismal liturgy of an all night vigil in which i am taking part from Saturday night through to the Easter dawn out in the desert.

Monday, March 17, 2008

nothin' strange or unusual...

take this sinking boat and turn it home
we still got tii-ime...

happy st patrick's day. listening to ::the cost:: in honour.

after a lovely few days in Nashville with the crew, which was as close to heavenly as it might ever get, with its weaving intentional conversations of togetherness in community, i'm back in the Ole Pueblo and it's another working week. routine these days looks like free floating association while engaging in light domestic chores in the morning, a couple hours of reading and then correspondence and writing at a local cafe in the afternoon. currently trying to make something from aforementioned conversations, which left me with much upon which to reflect.

the weather is decidedly Irish today - high fifties Fahrenheit, partly sunny/cloudly, threatening rain, breezy. but needless to say it's gonna climb back up to the heat to which we are becoming accustomed in the coming days and we'll be back into the 80s by week's end.

off to jared and jaime's for soda bottle geysers with an excited 8 year old and an "irish" dinner this evening. better get back to some so-called work.

raise your hopeful voice
i'll sing along


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

hold steady while i learn


greetings from springtime in Nashville. i love this place. i love the folks i get to hang with here.

have dropped into TN for a few days. as i write i sit across a Fido table from the good Father McCleary, catching up on overdue correspondences (specific sincere apologies are due to Gailers and both Judes for failing to keep up my end of the conversations and updating you like i said i would. shame on me).

more soon. in the meantime, thanks for the lovely messages here and elsewhere. you is good people.

last night, a friendly acquaintance parted with the words, ::i hope your heart heals:: and something of this place tells me it will come. i feel my inner world wrestle as the new collides with the old. grieving giving way to birthing. and somehow we just keep holding steady. and each day is a resolution to do it better. to learn how to speak with honesty and not judgment. to dare to express from that inner world, which i find so much more manageable on the page that with my voice.

i believe here. i can't seem to hold up my regular vibe of postmodern a/theism in this place. i feel like these folks kept the faith for me in my absence. or maybe it's just that i'm feeling thoroughly blessed having seen Foy Vance play an impromptu gig in a bar last night. he has the gift.

out of collision, conflict, chaos comes the chance for transformation... i hope you'll stick with me while i learn how to do this thing... that's the closest i have to prayer right now... that love will be like patience...


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

the wisdom of youth

well well well. 66 days later and finally i crawl out from under a warm stone here in the desert and say, hello, how's it goin'? and i hope this finds you well.

i am here in beautiful southern Arizona for the month of March and am realising that a return to the world of bloggage might be in order to keep those at various desks far from here informed of my state of being... some at said desks have been demanding a return to form and as i am currently without Word on my laptop this is as good a place for prosaic musings, which one day may or may not find their way into print.


as for updates on my recent whereabouts - in my absence from these pages i have, in chronological order,

* seen in the new year in a desperately lonely state at
a rather lavish family wedding, and then fell into a "seasonally affected and 5,000 mile distance from the one-i-find-myself-wanting -to-know-more-intimately-than-all-others induced" (C) abyss of blues.
* attempted to escape from said blues with a very spontaneous 3 and half week trip from late January into February in which i returned after 7 years away to one of my all time favourite haunts (Nashville, TN) where i spent many happy hours with some of my favourite folks on the planet, then here to the Ole Pueblo that is Tucson and increasingly feels something like home, and then hung with my bro and family in Toronto in obscenely cold weather and experienced powder snow for the first time.
* then stopped back in Belfast briefly to pay some bills and then introduce the ever-rockin' Will to my little corner of the world and my nearest and dearest.
* got on a plane with said significant other and returned once again here to write for a few weeks in warm climes and reconnect with my mojo, which has pervasively evaded me this season. lack of writing and loss of the ol' mojo are, as we have explored here before, something of a chicken and egg affair. regardless, i am writing and feeling more like myself day by day... thank heaven for small mercies.


so here goes. some splurging...

We must always have old memories and young hopes. (message found in a fortune cookie)

i hate to beg to differ with ancient Chinese wisdom but i think i hear my gut wishing to disagree. and after all, this little slip of paper was undoubtedly printed in a bleak factory somewhere in a manner far from sage.
for sure, i can see the point: perhaps we are wiser for remembering the past. after all, those who forget history are destined to repeat it. perhaps minding our old memories means carrying with us the places and people from our journey with us. maintaining a sense of ongoing narrative. perhaps...
perhaps we should then, in turn, look to the future like children. be full of youthful zeal for the future that is yet to come. have hearts of wonderment and anticipation. hope characterized by a sense of innocence and trust. be ready for the unexpected without fear and caution. perhaps...

but perhaps we should invert this advice and instead hold that our memories be young and our hopes old... perhaps we should be mindful that our stories often contain remembrances that are as painful as they are old. the past so frequently not only haunts but binds us. perhaps each day, each moment should be a gift of memory making for us. to live in the present with a wonderment that treasures. constantly desiring to create a life that is worth remembering. perhaps...

perhaps, by contrast too, we should hold onto our old hopes. return time and again to the dreams and wishes of our youth and recognise that who we were when we were shorter than we are now we were most ourselves... most connected to our essence... and however fanciful or elaborate or plain ridiculous those hopes may seem, they tell us something intrinsic about our deep selves... about who, at heart, we really were, and still are...

with the years come layers of cynicsm and self doubt. failure and trial. and worst of all, common sense. practicality. but the hopes we had when we were young were unbridled.
when i was a girl i hoped for wide open spaces and to never stop witnessing or praising beauty, to ride like the wind on a kind horse, be held in comforting arms, sing with abandon and confidence, feel at home. i still do.
i want today to be memorable. to fall with free spirit into the beauty of comforting arms and feel a peace i will not easily forget...

We must always have young memories and old hopes. perhaps.