vendredi 19 avril 2013

My first Friday Five

Deb at RevGals gave us the following invitation

I am an enthusiastic newspaper reader. Lately, however, world events have made it hard to read and process the pain in the world around me. Perhaps you have struggled with this, too.

So, with the events of the violence and tragedy from the Boston Marathon fresh in our memories, I thought it would be good for us to focus on where as RevGalBlogPals, we find healing, peace and strengthening. As a chaplain, there are days where I never seem to catch my breath, and invariably, those are the days that I need it the most! So with all this in mind, share with us these healing things

1. A piece of music

Gabriel's obe theme from "The Mission"

2. A place

It probably because I live so far from the ocean these days, but I love a beach. One with proper waves. This one has dark volcanic sand as a bonus:

3. A favorite food (they call it "comfort food" for a reason)

ooooh. something soothing that doesn't fit into my diet, like a well made cauliflower cheese.

4. A recreational pastime (that you watch or participate in)

Swimming.  When my brain is too full I swim laps. Concentrating on breathing doesn't leave room for anything else.

5. A poem, Scripture passage or other literature that speaks to comfort you.

It has to be St Patrick's breastplate. I learned it off by heart a few years back and it has helped me in many places (St Patrick was of course Scottish, like me!):

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

vendredi 12 avril 2013

The Prodigal's Daughter

A few years back, I was challenged to write a contemporary retelling of a well-known Bible story.  This is the result.

Louisa edged her father's BMW backwards gently, gently until she felt a gentle thunk. Then she hauled on the wheel and started to edge forwards. Heart racing, she waited again for the thunk. Tomorrow she was definately going to take her own car – never mind that her Father said the staff wouldn't take her seriously if she turned up in her little Fiat.

Success ! The damn thing was finally parked – sort of legally and almost straight in a side street only two blocks from the house. Maybe things were finally looking up after a truely lousy day. She streatched into the back, grabbed the strap of her lap-top bag while groping with her other hand for her overstuffed briefcase. Pushing the door open with her elbow she swore vigorously as her tights laddered on the seat trim. Another pair for the bin then. Back-aching from the weight of her lap-top and papers, head-thumping after the stand-up row with the sales director, feet aching, she headed for home, looking forward to a soak on a long hot bath and a large glass of chardonnay (or maybe vodka...)

Nearing the house, she was surprised by the number of cars pulled up onto the pavements. She could hear music as well – someone must be having a party. Unusual for a week-night. As she rounded the corner, she stopped dead – barely able to believe her eyes. All the windows of her father's house were lit up, and the music – which sounded for all the world like a jazz band – was clearly coming from inside. « What the....! » She squeezed round the gardener's van that was blocking the entrace and came nose to nose with its owner, who appeared to be holding a crate of champagne. « Tom, what the heck is going on ? » « Its your father Louisa. He's having a party now your brother's back ». « A party ? My father ? For my brother ? My brother ? Back ? Are you sure ?». She could hear her voice getting shriller with each question. « Well yes, your father sent me out for more champagne because they were running out. Anyway, better get this lot up to the house. I'll tell your Father you'll be over once you've changed, will I ? » And with that, Tom was off.

A party. A party for her brother ? Her brother back, after all these years ? No, that didn't make sense. He'd been gone for years. Dropped out of uni half way through his business studies course and gone off to « find himself » leaving their father heart-broken, and Louisa to give up on her own ambitions and take over the business. Was it possible ? Could he really be back ?

Avoiding the people drinking champagne and dancing on the lawn, she climbed the stairs to her little flat above the old coach house and closed the door behind her. Her brother, back after all these years. No, it just wasn't possible. As for going over to the house to celebrate his return. Well that would be the day. Give him a piece of her mind more like.

She kicked off her heels and headed towards the bathroom when there was a knock at the door. Now what ! To her astonishment, her father stood in the entrance. But he never came here, to her little flat. She always went to him. « Louisa, its your brother. He's back. Anyway, we're having some drinks over at the house, to celebrate you know. It would be great if you could come over too. »
« Come over. Just like like. After the way he left us – the way he left you. Just walked out, barely a postcard in all these years, and now he just walks back in like he owns the place and you expect me to come running... »
« Louisa, look, none of that matters now – just come over please. Come and say hello, thats all. »

Was she imagining it, or did her Dad look his age as he walked back down the stairs ? But no, really it was too much. She sat down on the settee...
...and woke several hours later in the dark. Only a glow from a streetlight lit the room. She must have fallen asleep where she was. She stretched and headed to the kitchen for a drink of water. It must be late. Well in the small hours. Looking up to the house, all appeared in darkness except for a light in her father's study. Could he still be up ? Unlikely. He liked to be in bed early these days, ever since Lionel... Lionel...
How could he just turn out of the blue like this and expect everything to be OK. Typical bloody Lionel, no thought for others.

Couldn't hurt to nip over and make sure that dad was OK. Pulling on a pair of trainers, Louisa headed for the house. The front door was unlocked and the alarm hadn't been set. Not like her father. She headed for the study and then stopped just outside the open door at the sound of soft voices. Her dad and Lionel – maybe she should just head back to her flat and leave things to the morning. But no, too late « Come in Louisa ! We were hoping you'd come ». As she walked into the study, Lionel stood up. After an awkward silence he kissed her briefly on the cheek. « Good to see you again, sis » He looked thinner, tired, not quite how she remembered him. « Dad, if its all the same to you I'll turn in now. I think that you and Lou have things you need to talk about. Thanks for the whisky ». And with that he left the room.

Louisa looked at her father, and suddenly realised how frail he was looking. She nodded briefly as he held up the whisky bottle then took the glass he held out. Wordlessly she sat down in the armchair Lionel had left.  And then realised, to her horror, that she was crying. Gently her dad took her glass from her hand, and for the first time in years, she let him take her in his arms.