I did not know

I did not know 
that I could feel
real joy from unseen cause -
I had not let 
my mind be still
with clever thought on pause. 

I could not hear
beyond my wants,
my fantasies and fears - 
I did not sense
the present peace 
for striving, strain and tears. 

I had not touched
the heart of faith 
for I lacked humble poise -
I could not take
the emptiness 
below self’s faulty noise.

I had not held 
the offered hope
of imager, our role,
but then the good news 
force of truth
was poured into my soul. 

And now I taste
true gratitude
the more I cease to steer -
in yielding up 
the reigns to God
it's alright to be here.
A ditty from Wiltshire, England, 2.2.22


Our peace in this present life should not depend on absence of adversity but on humble acceptance. Those who accept suffering will enjoy peace. Such a person is a conqueror of the self, a ruler of the world, a friend of Christ and an inheritor of heaven.

Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Blessed be Your name

CHRIST: My child, let My will be your guide. I know what is best for you. Your understanding is human and your judgement is affected by your personal concerns.

DISCIPLE: Lord, what You say is true. Your concern will order my life better than I can myself. Those who do not place their anxiety on You will be very insecure. Lord, keep my will steadfast and true to You. Do with me whatever you please, for everything is good which comes to me through Your will. If you want me to be in darkness, blessed be your name. If it is light, blessed be your name. If You grant me comfort, blessed be Your name. If You wish to test me, blessed be your name forever.

Thomas à Kempis - The Imitation of Christ


The original serenity prayer

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.


Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) - unabridged, original version.


Leaves fall into dark soil 
like heavenly desires unfulfilled. 
Bare branches reach for the softening light,
exposed in austere form. 
Bruised gatherings of clouds press in
as the autumnal release yields. 
Every withered blossom
accepts its place. 

Graven image

I made an idol of my life - 
my expression, 
my activity, 
my achievement.

I polished, perfected 
and worshipped my creations, 
failing to notice that my gifts
were a gift. 

I rightly shored up
my fortress from attack, 
with acts of independence
and power. 

But with such armaments,
my heart was incarcerated -
all forms became hollow 
and dry. 

So my folly was exposed 
in a thousand myriad ways, 
as a choreographed play 
of counterfeit control. 

As the last in line 
of the daughters of Eve,
it was strange relief 
to submit and accept: 
my weakness, 
my fragility, 
my dependence.

I am now as I always was - 
helpless unless carried 
by the stream 
of the living Spirit. 

6th September 2020, Somerset, England
With thanks to the exhortation of A.Ha.

Everywhere and in all things

I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philipians 4:11

In Perpetuum Mobile

“God bless those lovely ladies who hold stillness for us during our nomadic motion, while we learn to carry home within.”

This is the wonderful sentence that my friend M wrote to me this morning. As it happens, I consider her to be one of the lovely ladies who has been holding the stillness signal especially for me. I suspect she was doing this before we even knew one another. I picture her charming arrangement of green smoothie, red kitchen stool and smiling face and feel immediately at home – even when I am on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, sitting in a cold, smelly railway station waiting for a train that is three hours delayed.

Over the last few days I’ve been writing in my notebook about home, in an attempt to untangle why it is that I’ve been moving and moving and moving and moving over the last decade.

The relentless tumult of set shifts is a grand challenge, and quite frankly I have absolutely bloody hated it at times. For the virgoan introvert and semi-retired perfectionist who has a love of alphabetizing books and making neat arrangments of whatever objects are to hand, it can be deeply unsettling. Organic cotton bed linen, well sharpened kitchen knives, loose leaf tea and the satisfying weight of a cast iron teapot are sorely missed when on the road. Beauty and quality, two of my favourite things, are often in low supply in my transient abodes. “NO IT WON’T DO” and “THIS IS HOW THINGS ARE” do a merry little jig in my mind. A battle of stomping feet and graceful sentiments.

With pen and paper, I have explored my own chronic case of Perpetual Motion and drawn three fundamental conclusions on the underlying whys of P.M:

  1. In order to find, one must seek through movement and pilgrimage.
  2. In agreeing to be transformed by the experience of living, one also agrees to a period of intense external changes that reflect and illuminate the inner growth.
  3. A lack of home out there is asking us to explore home in here.

As I have mapped this out, I have also noted that my current environment is quite lovely, quite beautiful. This simultaneous surfacing is no coincidence. In tandem with these ponderings I’ve felt drawn to watching various documentaries on monastic life. This has been a counter-balance to looking back over a year of high-velocity travel and expansion, and an encouragement to draw myself into the stillness and hibernation of winter. This one in particular touched me immensely.

“We here have nothing but God”

I shared this film with my friend M, and in response she sent me a link to a blog containing a short clip of another monastic documentary. Much to my wonder, this blog (created by another M) articulates beautifully everything else that I had hoped to write about in relation to home. This came as another lovely reminder that even in those moments when the destination seems unknown and you cannot see anyone on the path with you, you are never alone.


This blog post is dedicated to the M I have already met, and the M I haven’t yet met, both of whom have channelled my thoughts and feelings sublimely. Thank you.