Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Phoenix Needs The Ashes

An organism crumbles from the core
And we, who dance on the circumference,
Stick paper on the cracks in the pretence
That they will disappear if we ignore
The stench of death. It all took place before,
Man's empires come to pass and no defence
Of the perimeter can check the sense
Of creeping rot within. What lies in store
Is lawful and deserved; we should not mourn,
Or curse the fading light, lest inner eyes
Grow dim and fail to see a seed is borne
In rotting fruit, a seed that never dies.
In Winter's discontent is Spring re-born,
The phoenix needs the ashes to arise.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A time for hope

Wouldn't you agree that, at the present time, we're all of us much in need of a restorative dose of hope?

As we look around, or listen to the news, our turbulent world feels rather like this disturbing picture.

It's a picture in which everyone is anxious, competitive and fearful, whilst at the same time governed by a fierce sense of tribal loyalty.

See how each person clings to the precarious pyramid . . .  struggling to ascend whilst peering in suspicion and fear at any other pyramid that might be in sight.

In happy contrast, I was grateful this week to hear an inspiring talk on the subject of hope . . . a theme perfectly summed up in the words of Bernard Williams: 

"There was never a night or a problem," he wrote, "that could defeat sunrise or hope."

Tell me, as you read those words did you feel your shoulders drop and your breathing deepen?
I did.

His words remind me of another important issue that was discussed in the talk.

Telling us that we were living at a time of global emergency, the speaker asked if we knew another interpretation for the word 'emergency'?
Apparently it can also be seen as a time to 'emerge and see' . . .
a time to wake up.

After all, it's only if we wake up, only if we emerge from the claustrophobic confines of that unstable pyramid, that we'll be fired by the energy of hope that's waiting to guide us.

This is something that must have been borne in mind by the organisers of a recent service at Westminster Abbey, the service held to honour the life and tragic death of  PC Keith Palmer.

I wonder if you noticed that this wasn't called a Service of Remembrance, instead it was called a Service of Hope.

It has long been accepted that without a vision the people perish.
But how, in stressful times, do we cultivate what Barack Obama calls 'the audacity of hope'?

A fellow American has some good advice to offer.

"Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space,"
wrote Maya Angelou,  "Invite one to stay."

Shall we issue that invitation?
Let's emerge and see all that hope has to offer. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The caring cupboard!

Hello, it's Chloe here.  Have you a moment to spare?

I've a feeling in my whiskers that my Mum is about to tell you a story about me, so I think I'd better tell you first.
Well, you know what mums are like. There's not the slightest doubt that she'd get it muddled, and you deserve to know what really happened.

I had a very good time last week.  First of all we visited our favourite park, and then, at the end of the week, my Mum told me that we'd been invited out to lunch by a friend of ours.
Not that I get any actual lunch on such occasions, my Mum has this strange idea that cats should only eat at home.
But this doesn't really matter, I love visiting and exploring other people's houses.  I'm a very sociable cat.

This friend of ours has a great house to explore.  It has lots of stairs, lots of room, and there are plenty of intriguing things to inspect and get your whiskers twitching.  As my Mum and our friend ate their lunch, I had a very busy and exciting time.

Mind you, I tried to be polite and to share my excitement by going back downstairs every now and then to tell them what I'd found.  But they were so interested in their food that they didn't really listen.
Which, between you and me, was just as well.
All this exploring was proving rather tiring.  I felt in need of a rest.

So I went back upstairs in search of a comfortable chair for a short nap.
And guess what I found?

A door I hadn't noticed before was slightly open, I pulled at it with my paw and found myself in the most welcoming of cupboards.  It was very warm, and there were shelves all covered with clean sheets and blankets.  The perfect place, as I'm sure you'd agree, for a weary cat in need of a nap.  In fact, I was certain our kind friend had left the door open for that very purpose.

As I pushed my way in the door closed behind me.  All the better as the warm cupboard was now also dark . . . perfect for a good snooze.

I don't know how long I slept, but I certainly know what woke me up!  It was my Mum yanking me out of the cupboard in a very rough and ready fashion.
"So this is where you've been hiding!" she exclaimed very crossly, "I've been looking everywhere!"
Hiding?  I blinked at her in surprise.  I'd no idea what she was talking about.  I'd only found the warm spot that our friend had made available for me . . . how was that hiding?

It seemed that she'd been searching and calling for quite a while, but how can you possibly hear someone calling your name when you're fast asleep inside a cupboard?
Our good friend was smiling at me, so I don't really think my Mum needed to have been so upset.

It seems I'd been sleeping in what my Mum called an 'airing cupboard'.  But I feel confident she's got the name wrong, surely it must be a 'caring cupboard'?

Back home, after all that excitement, I finally went to sleep on the sofa.
If we've got a 'caring cupboard', my Mum keeps it well hidden.
I wonder . . .  do you think I could ask for one as an extra birthday present?