Peace

Lent 34 ~ I will Fight for You

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But Moses answered the people, “Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the victory the LORD will win for you today. For these Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD will fight for you; you have only to keep still. ~  Exodus 14: 13 – 14

Refuge

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If, on going to the garden to pluck some fruits, you were surprised by a heavy rain, what would you do? You would seek shelter under the shed, would you not? So when sorrow, bitterness, tribulation, rain down upon you, you must seek a refuge in the safe asylum of the will of God, and you shall not be troubled.   ~   St. Paul of the Cross

 

          There have not been many times when I have sought shelter in the Will of the Most High. Even fewer times when I have willingly gone to it, my own will fused to God’s. Almost always, every resting of my will is preceded by struggle. I have learned enough lessons from this point of acquiescence once I have reached it; I have learned and re-learned timeless truths of peace and serenity and strength when God’s will is mine.

          And yet, I continue to rebel. In every storm, I continue to remain out in the open, ignoring the shelter proffered, pleading my case before God.

          Why? Because up to now, I have only seen the Will of God as a call to obedience. I have not learned to accept it as a refuge from storms.

          There are some prayers in my prayer~cart, and I have gone before my Lord for them for a long time now. As there is a time to pray, there will soon come a time to rest those hopes, when He presses His hand against my heart and renders slumber unto my seeking.

          When that time comes to pass, I must, in faith and humility, seek the safe refuge of the will of God, where I shall not be troubled.

 

 

 

 

Come Into The Peace of Wild Things

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When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.   ~   Wendell Berry      

 

          A break from work beckons. So does a whole ton of work. I am worn out and stand at the edges of a burnout.

How long more, Lord? I ask. How long more?

          I want to live again. To feel alive and free. To feel the hope that I believe in and know is there. I want to work, not quit. I want to love and care for my family, not leave. But the air that is for our living must be made new, the water that flows through the existence here be purified.

          Hope cannot birth and bloom until the poison in the wellsprings is cleansed.

          This cannot be rushed. And yet, today, I can no longer wait, for the fist of life as it is here is tightening its hold, choking out breath.

How long more, Lord? I ask. How long more?

          He does not give me my answer, and yet answer me He does.

When despair grows… go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

Come into the peace of wild things, says my Lord to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 9 ~ St Basil’s Prayer

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Steer the ship of my life, good Lord,
to Your quiet harbour,
where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict.
Show me the course I should take.
Renew in me the gift of discernment,
so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go.
And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course,
even when the sea is rough and the waves are high,
knowing that through enduring hardship and danger,
in Your name, we shall find comfort and peace.

 

 

Angel’s Work Done

I made a slightly more fussy chicken dish for Sunday lunch today. I liked the chicken the first time I tasted it cooked this way at a little corner street dinner run by an Indian Muslim of few words but with quiet, watchful eyes. imagesX8M82INM

Compared to the other eateries that line both sides of that busy shopping street, his was understated, clean, the clientele more likely to be busy office workers out for a quick lunch, heads barely raised over their plates, than teenage kids who place a higher premium on ambience and address, and who, thus, rarely made a beeline for this man’s restaurant.

This quiet man had two or three equally quiet workers, all South Indians, I suspect. They didn’t speak the local language, knew little English but they knew the currency well so there were no problems. The restaurant owner only cooked up a few dishes and a soup each lunch time. Simple food cooked from the heart but they were hearty fare.

And one of those dishes was his South Indian peppery chicken dish which made up our Sunday lunch. The first time I ate it was after a tiring day of shopping, and in a mood not improved by hunger, worsened by the crowds that took up every seat in every other restaurant.

But this little eatery beckoned. Simple seats, small tables, clean floors. Quiet waiters. An even more quiet chef who stood afar and watched us discreetly as he washed up his pots and pans. With the busy street just a few feet away, the quiet of the restaurant was a stark contrast to the rushing and honking all around us. It felt almost like a hidden world that lived alongside busyness and mayhem.

And that day, this man’s chicken touched something deep within me. I’ve never been much of a cook but with a house full of small children with huge appetites, I have little choice but to learn to cook decent meals and to cook them fast. I had the usual go-to chicken recipes but I was on the lookout for something new and the chicken this man made that day was different. I knew he had made it right there in a massive wok in a cubicle just off the seating area but it tasted like it had been cooked in aging stoves in old kitchens with big windows, surrounded by huge trees that waved the sunny breezes inside. The hearty meal took the rough edges off the day, and quietened me enough to savor the peace of the little diner.

The following week, staring at the freshly cut chicken in front of me, I decided to recreate the chicken dish I could barely get out of my head. It turned out well, and it has, each time I’ve cooked it.

Some years later, hankering for some more from him, I made my way back to the eatery but he was gone. I stared dumbly at the restaurant in its place, its new waiters meeting my eyes sullenly.

More than his chicken, I missed the island of quiet he had created, the gentle comfort of good and reasonably priced food, the way he helped me realize I didn’t need to follow the crowd in its frazzled rush. In that little space off the crazy street, he offered respite that rested tired feet and hearts. Quiet and unassuming, he did the work of angels.

I turned away in disappointment wishing I knew where the quiet chef had chosen to bloom anew in quietness, offering an angel’s pit stop to refresh those who heaved around dusty and wilting spirits. imagesBEYVFEW3

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