Tuesday, September 28, 2010

when a retreat comes to visit

The last couple of days have been blissful.

Peace. Quiet. Stories. Joy. Cheese. Guitar.

Most members of our community have gone away for the first week of school holidays. Only David Orozco and I are left to represent Cornerstone (apart from a couple of plants and animals). I do miss the others (because they are the greatest community a girl could ask to be part of). But it doesn't happen very often that I get a couple of days to myself (probably because I know so many wondrful people that I long to see and hang out with). I have really enjoyed the pace the last few days... a few welcome visits from friends occasionally interrupting a leisurely solitude filled with reading, singing, cooking and cleaning, contemplation and conversation with... well the one who has shared it all with me to begin with.

How lucky am I? I didn't plan this retreat, it planned me!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tell me a story

Today I woke with a story in my mind.

There was a young girl named Ellie whose nose turned up at everything. She didn't realise it, but she didn't enjoy much, and when she laughed the sounds came out in thin shreddy snorts. All of her friends had exactly the same layered hair style and laughed with the same sound and they never differed on anything (if they could help it).

One day at recess a quiet year seven boy named Timmy passed Ellie’s group. As he trotted by, Timmy slipped over and landed smack on his backside. It looked so funny, but it was even more hilarious when Timmy, rising, tripped on his shoelace and fell a second time. Hilarity can be catching and everyone started chortling.

Ellie couldn’t contain herself. Soon she was giggling and hooting. And when Timmy tripped a third time (by this time even he had begun laughing) tears were pouring from Ellie’s eyes. Ellie’s breath was coming in short bursts as she pushed air out in great gobby laughs until she got confused about whether she was breathing in or laughing out and shot a large globule from her nose. It glided through the air, landing splat. Everything went very quiet.

Residual laughter faded from Ellie's wet face. She looked around and saw all of her friends staring at the globule. Embarrassed she watched as it stretched upwards forming a thin pliable strand. A haughty face appeared in the slime at the top of the strand. Small feet poked out of the bottom. With great dignity the slime turned up its nose and tripped penguin-like out of the circle of onlookers, preserving a dignified silence.

A smattering of titters soon caught flame, fast growing to roaring hilarity as everyone, including Ellie, fell about laughing at the silly slime strand tripping across the playground.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Gosh it's fun singin musical songs with kids and seeing them grow in confidence. I really like being part of a show and seeing it gradually come alive with the joy of kids on stage working out their characters and beginning to inhabit them. This week we had a nice mixture of violence, dance and love.

And this show has so much beautiful music in it. Melodies streaked with sadness and hope. And then some of it just downright FUN. To Life, to Life L'chaim!

Favourite moment from this week... Milly singing, "When Moses slew Goliath," Tom's action is supposed to be to wind up a big imaginary sling and send it off into the audience crying out YESSSS. Instead his winding ended in an anti-climactic... "huh?"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hunger games

A new book I am reading. It is addictive. I'm not sure how good it is yet. But it is definitely addictive.

I have been thinking a lot about a quote from a very good book indeed, LotR. Tolkien thought the image was important enough to include it twice (once in a dream at Tom Bombadil's and then at the Grey Havens). Though I really didn't understand it when I first read the book, it is becoming important to me now.

And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled sweet frangrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

I love the image of the grey haven and the rain receding behind the ship, while the shore and the morning sun approach. The atmosphere feels familiar, except I am always in the rain, looking forward... 

I wonder if that is what my life looks like to God. Just as human lives seem to be a passing dream to the elves in LotR, perhaps my grey self is receding quickly under the light of eternity.  It just feels so wretchedly slow to me. 

Maybe I can begin to wake to this kind of life now? Do I dare to hope that my waking is watched over eagerly, by one who longs for my eyes to be opened and filled with light today?

Or must I, like Frodo, wait until my journey is over, my task complete, my quest has been settled? Oh, I am hungry for the light of Aman to be in my eyes.