Pauline's May Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It’s always difficult to write this letter knowing that it won’t be published for another two weeks, and never more so than now; what will have changed during those weeks, where will we be in terms of lockdown etc?

Uncertainty is very difficult to live with is it not, meanwhile the beauty and glory of spring unfolds around us, the rhythm of nature continues as trees blossom, leaves unfurl and hedges are cloaked in glorious green. In other words, life goes on. I don’t mean that in a callous way but rather that the present situation has alerted us to the fact that we human beings are not the centre of the universe with all the answers, but merely a very small part of a very much larger whole. Having our eyes opened in this way has I think made us much more grateful for what we might call the little things in life that we would normally not notice; and for the big things as well of course. I am acutely aware of how privileged I am at this point in time to be financially secure, to have a job and a home and a loving family who are also safe and well.

Part of that privilege is also I think, being given an opportunity to be still.  There was an extremely good article in The Observer on Easter Day by Tobias Jones entitled ‘The rebirth of humanity’ in which he writes:

‘It’s truism of modern life that we struggle to be settled or present. Because we can be anywhere, we actually end up being nowhere. We suffer as the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman once wrote, “electronically assured out-of-placeness.” We’re notoriously fidgety and lacking attention. We just keep clicking and tapping. When I was running our community, one of the hardest things for those in early recovery was just to sit still. We used to have Quaker like silences twice a day, and to begin with, many just couldn’t cope with the sudden stillness. It seems to me that we are all in a similar situation right now. We’ve come to an emergency stop and it’s painful, not just because we are separated from others, but because we can no longer separate from ourselves.’

Why don’t we just stop, if only for a while? Why don’t we forget the blessed Zoom meetings and all the other thing we are desperately running around doing to convince ourselves that we are still important and just sit still? And listen.

I leave you with a poem to help, Mary Oliver, Wild Geese.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

With love and prayers,