My mind has been travelling across ages and times just lately. History, place, other worlds, imagination, reality, things ephemeral yet real.
One of my mother’s oft-used phrases was ‘Time and space, time and space!’, spoken when the lack of both caused frustration in her busy life. Now that she’s in the next world, time and space are different – non-existent, even.
I’ve recently had a week’s holiday in Llwyn Celyn in Wales, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. This ‘medieval hall house’ was built originally in 1420 and has hardly changed since around 1690, though it was still inhabited until about 10 years ago. Then it was taken over by The Landmark Trust, which has restored it to how it would have been in 1690. Time and space became rather fluid for me there, gazing at the many honest repairs in woodwork, beams, doors, window frames, floors, stonework – pondering how human life has changed (or not) through the centuries. Early each morning, the only sounds were prolific birdsong and bleating sheep and lambs. The view from the front door was timeless – sweeping valleys and tall hills, bucolic in the early sunshine.
Through the evenings, I read The Little Prince to my 8- and 10-yr-old grandchildren. The little prince travelled through time and space, learning important things about people, and about what truly matters. ‘We can only truly see with the heart. What is important is invisible to the eyes.’
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“Every community in heaven is growing in numbers daily, and the more it grows, the more perfect it becomes. In this way … heaven in general is perfected … since these communities constitute heaven. Heaven’s ever-increasing fullness makes it more perfect. So angels long for nothing more than to have new angel guests arrive there.” Heaven and Hell 71
So many, many people have died since Covid-19 knocked the whole world off balance. Some say these Covid deaths were ‘before their time’, but I think they’ve just been part of achieving the Lord’s ultimate purpose – for heaven to grow and be more perfected.
The Lord knows when it’s the right time for each one of us to move from this world to the next. It does not happen until that time, regardless of how it seems, or how hard it is for those left behind.
Continue reading Pondering on the Pandemic
When the deadlines were sent for submitting my two articles to New Christian Woman this year, I was pleased to see the date for this one was just after the Gathering Leaves women’s retreat to be held at Purley Chase in the UK. I had booked to attend, and thought this article would be a perfect chance to reflect on that weekend and its theme: Fruits of the spirit.
Then Covid-19 began its rapid takeover of the world. At the end of May, Gathering Leaves was postponed until August 2021. My clever plan to write up that retreat was thwarted.
Yet now, three months later, I realize that since March I have been witnessing firsthand the fruits of the spirit mentioned on the Gathering Leaves webpage (except perhaps ‘joy’ and ‘peace’). Here’s the list: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
The ‘fruits’ most visible in the village where I live have been love, kindness, goodness, gentleness. Foodbanks have been set up to tactfully help anyone struggling. People have been getting groceries and collecting medical prescriptions for neighbours and anyone self-isolating. A dad and his two young children grew extra vegetable seedlings and put them outside their property for anyone to take. On our permitted daily exercise, strangers as well as friends have struck up friendly conversations (usually from opposite sides of the lane). For a couple of months, folk stood outside their doors clapping appreciation for the National Health Service once a week; right after the first time, a young singer stood before a microphone in her front garden singing an aria that drifted through the warm night to much of the village. One woman has made over 1,000 facemasks and given them away, hanging them on a string against her front fence. Similar things have been happening throughout the UK (and the world). People have been hungry for human connection.
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Heaven is a kingdom of usefulness. Conjugial Love 7
And the second is like unto it – you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39
Over the last six months or so, I’ve been reflecting on teamwork in the different contexts of my life. My role in my birth family (number 2 of 7 children, oldest daughter); being part of the ANC Class of ’69 and the different events and groups I took part in during high school; the varied paid jobs I’ve had; my own marriage & family; joining New Church activities while not living in a New Church community; loads of things in the village where I’ve lived for over 40 years.
In each context, teamwork was involved – sometimes I was at the heart of things, sometimes chugging along in the middle, sometimes on the edges. But each one involved (or still involves) working with others to achieve some sort of goal. I’ve gotten to know many people: some have become firm friends, others remain no more than acquaintances. The effort of everyone involved in any given ‘team’, however big or small, did help to build a sense of community. There’s been a lot of laughter, occasional tearing-out of hair, and once in a while a sobering slice of humble pie. I’ve learned things, about others and about myself. Communities are stronger when their members get actively involved.
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