Saturday 20 July 2013

For peace comes dropping slow...

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade. 

And I shall have some peace there,
for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings. 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.  - WB Yeats

'And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow'. With these words the best verse of my favourite poem begins. 

It is the beginning of the holidays, and peace does indeed come dropping slow. I lay worries and concerns aside, one by one. 

I went on holiday to the Aran Islands off the West Coast of Ireland. Twice. On the first occasion I went with my older sister and twin. The second time just with my twin. We walked the length and breadth of the island, that was all there was to do. That and look at the horizon, the cliffs and the sea, our legs dangling over the edges of drops measured in miles. I loved it there. Gemma and I staying in a tent with the cows, we listened to their lowing and chewing of the cud; there were crickets. One day we came across a clutch of kittens sleeping in the heather, they were beautiful. We imitated them and slept for hours each day, curled up the the heather under the sunny clouds. Aran remains to this day the most peaceful place I have ever been.

Soon I am going to move house, leave Oxford, the scene of many life changing adventures these past few years, and move on to territories new. And, whilst I dream of the house where I will have nine bean rows and a hive for the honey bee, a coup for the chickens, a cosy corner for the cat, a hearth rug for the dog and a view of the horizon for the children running free, my life has not reached that dream just yet. So in my new home, 'while I stand on roadway, or on the pavements grey', I will continue to hear peace, dropping slow, in the deep heart's core.

I am deeply grateful for the friendships I have made in Oxford, and the good times I have had in this beautiful city. I am happy to be moving on and accepting the unknown path that lays ahead. I am looking forward to new horizons, new adventures, a continued pilgrimage.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Preparing a meal

I go to the kitchen!


Loving Lord,
May You who nourishes and sustains all things, bless me as I prepare this meal.
Bless the ingredients I call to hand, and bless the hands of those who brought such gifts to me.
Grant to my soul Your peace and Your joy, and help me to feel the importance of my task.
May this meal be a reflection of Your love, and may it bring peace and joy to our table.
May it nourish, comfort and restore. 
Through it, may those I serve be blessed in body, mind and spirit.
Thank you.

As part of my work I am often asked for prayers to suit different occasions. Today I was asked for a prayer for our school cooks. I couldn't find one, so this transpired. Perhaps some of you know prayers suited to those preparing meals. I was surprised one did not come immediately to hand. Do share if you know one. I'd love a little collection.