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(rest, on journey)("I will give you rest)
There are a lot of old, ornate doors in Europe but I love the simplicity and faded colours of some of the oldest ones.This particular composition is from a very old, still active, convent in Brugge (Bruges City), Belgium.
I lucked out and happened to be there when a nun creaked open the door and walked out. After a brief conversation in broken English I asked her what she thought about all "these noisy tourists" flocking through her quiet place of retreat. "I rather enjoy it", she said. "I prefer to see them as pilgrims on their journey".
While riding a bicycle through the quiet village of Huizen in the Netherlands one evening, the distant sound of singing coming from an old church drew me closer. I recognized the hymn as one of Charles Wesley's old hymns, "Light of the World", and found myself being strangely moved, perhaps as if I were suddenly transported into 18th century Oxford. I sat for awhile absorbing the serendipitous gift before finally riding off in a graced, fresh state of renewal and peace.
My Sails I Lift
I feel the winds of God today
Today my sail I lift
Though heavy oft with drenching spray
And torn with many a rift
If hope but light the water's crest
And Christ my bark will use
I'll seek the seas at his behest
And brave another cruise.
It is the wind of God that dries
My vain regretful tears
Until with braver thoughts shall rise
The purer, brighter years
If cast on shores of selfish ease
Or pleasure I should be
Lord, let me feel thy freshening breeze,
And I'll put back to sea.
If ever I forget thy love
And how that love was shown
Lift high the blood red flag above
It bears thy Name alone.
Great Pilot of my onward way
Thou wilt not let me drift
I feel the winds of God today
Today my sail I lift. Amen.
A poem written by Jessie Adams, 1908, as recorded in an early Anglican Common Book of Prayer.
Hannah and I used to go down to Okanagan Lake when the big blow came in from the west. She learned at an early age that the bigger the wave, the more she had to lean into it. She's an adult now but she still takes the "big waves" in her life head on and tenaciously grapples with her God where some of us would pack it in and go home.
How lovely are your dwelling places O God
My soul longs, even yearns for the inner courts of the Lord
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God
The bird also has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself
Where she may lay her young
How blessed are those who dwell in your house!
Psalms 84: 1-4
Sterling Library at Yale University
God! You are my God. I seek you with all my heart.
My soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you
In a dry and parched land where there is no water....(Psalms 63)
Those who put their strength in You are blessed
Those who have set their hearts on pilgrimage
As they pass through the Valley of Weeping, they make it a place of springs
Yes, the early rain covers it with blessings, they go from strength to strength
before every one of them finally appears before God in Zion. (Psalms 84:5-7)
IMG_2202- Woodland Walk
"But alone in distant woods or fields, in unpretending sproutlands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day, like this, when a villager would be thinking of his inn, I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related and that cold and solitude are friends of mine. I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by church going and prayer. I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.............This stillness, solitude, wildness of nature is a kind of thoroughwort, or boneset, to my intellect. This is what I go out to seek. It is as if I always met in those places some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible, companion ......and walked with him." (Thoreau, Journals, 1857)
When I was young my father used to play hide and seek with my brother and I in the fields behind Grandma and Grandpa's. To the east rose the shadowed flanks of Big Mountain where seemingly endless freight trains would often sway and creak around its base. I can still hear the haunting whistles echoing against the formidable walls of rock, then fading, as I lay hiding in the tall grass hoping to be found. I am still reminded of my father's loving presence whenever I see or hear a train.
I do hope, with my heart of hearts, that these precious memories and experiences are more than some childish whim or silly sentiment, more than just distant, chaotic, and even meaningless dreams soon to be extinguished by the demands of a grown-up world where "evolving" adults outgrow their need for love and a sense of belonging. In the end, when I have nothing left and I am possibly all alone, I will still be waiting and hoping steadfastly for the Father of fathers to find me, (and why not all fatherless ones who harbor secretly the fantasy to be found? ), to seek me out with His loving presence, to scoop me up laughing out of the grass with those big arms that are mine, and bring me home...................
IMG_4984 - When You Be Beside Me
In the place my wonder comes from
There I find you
Your face shines in my sky
In your heart where the world comes from
There you will find me
Your eyes dance in my mind.
Come with me
We will sail on the wind
We will sway among the yellow grass
When you be beside me
I am real.
Though my eyes be closed forever
Still I would find you
You shine across my time
In the place my wonder comes from
There I find you.
"Love Song" - Bruce Cockburn's version of 14th century composer, Gilles Binchois' "Love Song"
IMG_3651 -the beach
A somewhat normal beach scene in many ways but, for me, it wonderfully illustrates the Kantian notion that we humans are meta-physical bipeds - as pilgrims, we plod along with one foot in the everyday finite, material world while the other restlessly yearns for the infinite and eternal, for the place to which we ultimately belong............ I have always seen the beach as a metaphor, as that mysterious place that draws the two together to rendez-vous and play in secret ............as a place to let go with wild abandon and become fully human, fully ambulatory, and maybe as a place where one's feet might even get wet.................(o taste and see, open wide)
IMG_3728 - Light
As photographers, we spend much of our lives searching for light. I can't help but hope that, at the end of our journey and looking back, we will have found the real thing....................
"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing [for home] - to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from - my country, the place where I ought to have been born.........." C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
Rest/ For Gwen
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone
my hope comes from Him
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken
My salvation and my honor depend on God
He is my mighty Rock, my refuge.