Thursday, 20 December 2012

Life's Small Things

A few things brought this 3+ year old poem fresh to mind yesterday:
1) I finally found a beautiful recycled glass jug at Ten Thousand Villages to replace the one the cat broke all those years ago; and we christened it last night, filled with water to rehydrate the cells after some lovely ruby red Carmenere.
2) Brianna's kind invitation to guest blog on her 'winter survival plan' brain child, Reflections on Darkness, has encouraged the light-dark motif to begin playing around the edges of my winter-slumbering consciousness. As I wonder if words will come again, I recall that they have come before.
3) As life continues to meander through its many patches of shadow and brilliance, and as I fail and succeed, fall and pick myself up again as much as I ever have, this poem helps re-ground me by reminding me that today's struggle and this year's struggle are also yesterday's and last year's and next year's; that mine is yours and theirs and ours and God's ("In all our wanderings, in light and in dark, you are the journey and the journey's end."); and that the hope and longing - and the journey in and through and towards them - remain constant, and must be kept alive, and are really what counts.
"How we get there is where we arrive." (Richard Rohr)


Today the cat broke my treasured water jug, a wedding gift from friends.
I cried as I swept up the shards of glass.
Today a friend spontaneously ploughed our oppressive mountains of snow.
We were left with miraculous open space, and the faintest hint of tender green.

Today something was irretrievably lost.
Today something was given, something gained.

Today I was ugly and angry with my daughter over nothing important.
We both cried, and I wondered how I am wounding her.
Today she asked for a kiss on her bumped head.
I marvelled that my loving touch still holds healing magic.

Today love was trampled and neglected.
Today love was simply asked for and freely given.
Today power was abused and vulnerability wounded.
Today there was connection, and tenderness, and healing.

I am a lover and a hater, a hurter and a healer, a bully and a friend.
I am control-freak one moment, carefree singing the next.
I am light and dark, good and evil, hidden and revealed.
Driven at times by an inner force of injury and rage,
Love rises at others to turn my small choices to good.

I am hopeful and despairing, as life’s small things bring loss or gain, fracture or growth,
As small things reveal the great circle of death and life before which I am powerless.
I am a small thing – powerless, yet powerfully held in the greater circle of love.

And so I watch the fall and the splinter, helpless to prevent or repair.
I know the wound and the wounding, and the barriers to love.
I hope, too, for the unsolicited miracle of healing,
For all that restricts to be pushed aside,
For the gift of a wide open space in which love can grow up
Like a tender shoot.

Rachael Barham – Thursday 26th February 2009