Contrasts wring my heart today. Hidden beneath the seat of one of our boats are another batch of eggs, while proud parents walk their gosling brood across the jetty to explore the spring. In contrast I take one who has served, now aged, recovering slowly from a life changing operation. He cannot remember now, he tells me with a touch of sadness, how to sail. As I take him slowly out on the lake contrasting his former lifelong abilities with my incompetent navigation, it begins to return.
“Loosen the starboard line, just a wee bit, see, let it catch the wind…” I see the joy of sailing kindle in his eyes, but he is no longer the teacher, the one who takes the disabled out on the boats. The tide has changed, we all fuss over him with hugs, tea and cakes and sailing…
I sense his time drawing nearer as the goslings is beginning, life’s circle coming to an end, volunteer becoming sailor. He keeps a smile but it’s hard. I’ll take him again, we all will, his investment has grown dividends of love and friendship, what he has given he will receive.
When our hearts are wintry,
Grieving or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back
To life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead
And bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat
That springeth green.
(From “Now The Green Blade Riseth” by John. M. C. Crum)
Perhaps it was a fairytale,
This thing which they called love.
This thing that though intangible,
Was heralded above
The normal humdrum sphere of life.
A dream upon the wing,
Romantic, heady, streaming
Filling emptiness within.
She sought it much with eager heart
And quickly running feet,
Yet fingers seemed to grasp at mist
Its substance failed to meet
Until at last she lingered
And in a twilight’s song
A voice came softly singing
What she’d evaded all along.
She noticed other voices
Soft pleading like her own,
They had no loved one with them
They suffered all alone.
And tending to their plight
She quickly came enmeshed
In a love that was so blessed.
She’d found the very best.
The greatest gift to be a mum,
(though often set with thorns.)
The gift of bringing tiny life
That later earth adorns.
Just like the acorn, watch them grow,
We know not what they’ll be
But all our love we freely pour
And later set them free.
We have to trust they’ll stay in touch,
They’ll take the time to love.
To care for us when we grow old
And tell us with a hug.
Seen this way around it’s easier to understand. “God is love” John states. Not “God is a loving God”. Love that most wonderful, unexplainable, illogical, and irresistible power we all long for in our lives is God’s spirit manifested in us. The degree of love we manifest to others is the measure of our walk with God, (not an adherence to doctrine). “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.” “He that loves has fulfilled the law!”
It’s my personal belief that this is the case even with some unbelievers (that they walk close to God without yet realizing it).
I thought it over.
Those upbraided by Jesus as ” generation of vipers!” “whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones” “blind leaders of the blind” etc. were never the tax collectors,prostitutes, thieves sinners etc. to whom he showed abounding love and mercy. These sayings were hurled at the holy elite who considered themselves good and righteous, far superior to this itinerant carpenter with his radical message of love.
The Sunday school picture of Jesus can be misleading, he was not always meek and mild. Taking a whip to the money changers in the temple was pretty violent and aggressive! The difference? – His anger was due to his great love for others, those cowed and exploited by the rich and “holy” it was never for himself.
My Christmas wish is that everyone could feel this loved this Christmas and likewise realise the true value of their life.
(For non vintage Christmas movie buffs the photo is from “It’s a Wonderful Life”. One of my favourites!)