Monday, May 26, 2008

The cup of Life

I've been caught up, lately, in the whole concept of the cup we each are given. Recently had a look (as a church) at the parable of the vineyard owner who went out to hire people to work in his vineyard. The first ones were hired early in the day and agreed to work for a denarius, and then later, as the day progressed, others were hired, and at the end of the day, they were all paid a denarius for their labours. You can imagine how disgruntled the early workers were.
I thought about that - how much we try to be 'fair' and how strongly our human nature labours to be right and just, and yet how little that has to do with the Kingdom of God. I thought I'd illustrate it by bringing to the meeting a basket of cups, all filled with a differing assortment of things: dried up pasta to represent sorrow and suffering, sour worm sweets to represent the bitter/sweet pleasures of life, fruit to represent health, and deflated balloons to represent illhealth. It was an interesting discussion point. We who are believers ask to know our Lord better, and yet when he gives us some of a share in his sufferings, we can't understand it. I am always gripped when I see someone who has had a larger portion of sorrow in this life, and yet who has been humbled by it, and has found a depth of compassion and mercy out of it, for others.
There is so much out there that people believe is 'christian' or the 'christian way' and often it is a self-righteousness piousness which has nothing to do with the Lord at all. He knew how to lose. He knew how to patiently bear suffering and loss without comment. Although he didn't ask for suffering ("Father, let this cup pass from me, but not my will but thine be done") he bore it for us. And he LET'S us share some of HIS suffering so that we can partake more fully in his life. What an honour. And oh, how I hope I remember that when next I feel the press of inexplicable crushing upon me. In fact, I have to say, that sometimes out of the sorrows I've been begrudgingly accepting of, I've been able to find joy which goes deeper than just happiness.
I miss the people who were once in my life, but are no longer. I think as you get older there's a quiet grief (that sits comfortably beside the peace and joy), which is for the loss of people or situations in the past, and it's something you just have to bear. My hope is that one future day, those separations now, will be joined into some wonderful wholeness and great GAIN.
So, thanks for the cup I have been given, which I will drink down to its dregs.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The years go by. . .

Well, here she is at 49! My little sister. Hard to believe that through 49 years I've known her and we've been in each other's lives. We're not so far from being able to rummage through the dress up box and pull out the old nighties we dressed in to be fairies and romp around the yard. I took her to lunch at the lovely little local cafe, and she looked happy enough:
. . . of course, that was after going across the street to see what was happening in her house. She had been well looked after by each of the three children there - as you can see by the various cups of tea and homemade cards nearby.
. . . nothing like 'self-timer' to capture the moment.
later that day we all got into one car and went out to Mum and Dad's to have dinner and the cake.
. . . and then my niece got hold of the camera and things just didn't remain 'safe' as far as the photos were concerned.
I think I'm a very brave woman to let myself be taken THIS close to a beloved niece! Which one of these faces is 20 do you think?
MOST of the family in our usual haphazard disarray.
Happy Birthday sweet sister, Helen. (Also known as Mmmmbelele, Bugskin, Bug, Honey)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Oh the delight of leaping out for an early morning walk this morning and finding dense fog! This photo taking some hour or so later, when it was light, but the fog is still heavy and all the atmosphere is one of chill mystery.
I love it. I love how each season has it's own beauty. If you look closely, there's much to marvel at. The cold foggyness outside, and the warm cosyness inside. I'm back in my studio, with the oil heater on behind me, and my work before me (which I'm obviously not doing).
I've just whipped outside to capture the essence of this day. The dewdrops like jewels on the bare branches of the tree.
The road disappearing off into oblivion with layer upon layer of greys.
The intricate overlays of cobwebs on all the trees, seen finally with their beaded strands glinting.

and the soft slow release of the golden leaves from branches. Letting go. Ah, where have I heard that before? I trust there is new life within.
And the all-seeing eye!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

I took my dear Mum out yesterday - along with hundreds of other daughters doing the same thing, judging by the crowds at the Rialto in Newmarket. That's the last of a raspberry and chocolate tart on her plate, and being fed to me in the picture below.
Then we moved on into the cinema and saw 'The Painted Veil" - ah what a movie. Second time for me. Still sniffed my way through the final scene.
Mozilla Firefox taking forever to respond to my delicate touch I think I'd better call it a night.