Pauline's June Newsletter
I am writing this letter as the first tentative steps are being made to ease the lockdown restrictions so I don’t know where we will have got to by the time you read it. I am enjoying video calling my baby grandchildren, who are now laughing and smiling; it’s no substitute for actually holding them but I’m trying to remain thankful for small mercies.
I fear I am going to repeat myself a bit, but the view out of my study window is such that I feel compelled to make my letter a kind of ode to the glories of our surroundings. I write on a beautiful day of bright sunshine; the garden and the countryside are an explosion of green loveliness that gladdens the heart and reminds me that despite the uncertainty of these worrying times, the natural world is going about its business as usual. The earth continues to gently turn and the seasons come and go as they always have done as spring unfolds into summer. I cannot believe that the end of this month it will be the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course this year there will be no gathering at Stonehenge; for the first time in history the solstice celebration will be live streamed instead. These long light days means that our chickens enjoy a very late bedtime indeed and they are scrabbling to be let out of their house very early in the morning as soon as the sun is up. If I am a bit late getting up they make terrible racket and fall over one another in their eagerness to get out of their quarters and find their breakfast.
As I said, I feel like I’m always banging on about the countryside, but I really think when we are anxious and there is no certainty to be found anywhere, consciously focusing our attention on the natural world has a very calming effect. Julian of Norwich, a 14th century anchorite famous for her visions encapsulated in her book ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ wrote ‘All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.’ When I really give my attention fully to the landscape around me, to the trees and the hedgerows, the wind and the birds, the earth speaks deeply to me of our creator and of his all encompassing love and faithfulness, and that yes, all shall be well.
This morning at Morning Prayer we had one of my most favourite psalms in which the psalmist writes:
‘May the pastures of the wilderness flow with goodness and the hills be
girded with joy.
May the meadows be clothed with flocks of sheep
and the valleys stand so thick with corn that they shall laugh and sing.’
The psalm paints a wonderful inclusive picture of the whole universe praising God together; virus or no virus, the whole of the created order is held in the beating heart of God.
I leave you with a few words from another of my favourite poets T.S Elliot:
'At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement
from nor towards,
Neither accent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point.’
May you find your still point in this turning world, and may the peace of God, which passes all understanding, be yours now and always.
Love and prayers,