Aid and attend us

With every power for good to stay and guide me,
comforted and inspired beyond all fear,
I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me,
and pass, with you, into the coming year.

While all the powers of Good aid and attend us,
boldly we’ll face the future, be it what may.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
and oh, most surely on each new year’s day

The old year still torments our hearts, unhastening:
the long days of our sorrow still endure.
Father, grant to the soul thou hast been chastening
that Thou hast promised—the healing and the cure.

Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving
even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,
we will not falter, thankfully receiving
all that is given by thy loving hand.

But, should it be thy will once more to release us
to life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine,
that we’ve learned from sorrow shall increase us
and all our life be dedicate as thine.

To-day, let candles shed their radiant greeting:
lo, on our darkness are they not thy light,
leading us haply to our longed-for meeting?
Thou canst illumine e’en our darkest night.

When now the silence deepens for our harkening,
grant we may hear thy children’s voices raise
from all the unseen world around us darkening
their universal paean, in thy praise.

While all the powers of Good aid and attend us,
boldly we’ll face the future, be it what way.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely on each new year’s day!

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his final poem, written for new year 1945

Whatever happens (in 2021)

A poem from Rumi to open the new year, with love to all who read these words.

whatever happens 
to the world around
show me your purpose
show me your source

even if the world 
is Godless and in chaos
show me your anchor
show me your love

if there is hunger
if there is famine
show me your harvest
show me your resource

if life is bitter
everywhere snakes everywhere poison
show me your garden
show me your meadow

if the sun and the moon fall
if darkness rules the world
show me your light
show me your flame

if I have no mouth 
or tongue to utter
words of your secrets
show me your fountain

I'll keep silence
how can I express 
your life when mine 
still is untold.


Introspect & Retrospect

The land and the light ask us to go inward during this phase of the year. It is a natural time to review our conduct and contemplate what we have learnt. In the realisation of failure, the possibility of success and fulfillment.

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.
One fails forward toward success.”  C.S. Lewis

When we are up to our necks in it, barely keeping ourselves above water as the waves of weirdness and intensity crash around us, we may not have the broad overview that a sense of distance can offer. Looking back, the limitations created by our own fears and desires become more apparent. Zooming out, we can observe the patterns created and repeated through time. Are they getting louder? Softening? Shifting? Does the phrase “there I go again” spring to mind?

The ‘I’ of those moments and the ‘I’ retrospecting feel like distant cousins many times removed. The ‘I’ caught in the tangled distortions of personality is not the same ‘I’ that is able to rise up to a birds eye-view. Going in, going up, going back, moving forward.

“Wisdom is knowledge perfected through inward realization” M.P. Hall

Did all of that really happen in one short year, one sequence of unexpectedness and wonder swirling its way through more than thirty one million seconds? Yes. You have come a long way.

What a ride.

A pat on the back and a tin of this.