Evanescence (IV)

4. Prayer on retreat, July 2014 [Read parts I, II & III] Here I am again, looking for something exciting on the iPhone, doing everything I can to avoid prayer. It is addiction: anything to stop me coming home to myself, and the work of coming home to You. What am I doing? I am … Continue reading Evanescence (IV)

Evanescence (III)

3. St Anthony's Pool [Read parts I and II] It is early morning, Summer 1991, the gardens of a college-turned-retreat house on the western edge of London. The Heathrow-bound air-traffic screams deafeningly low overhead, heading for touch-down. I am praying beside a goldfish pond. I know that if I am still and patient the fish … Continue reading Evanescence (III)

The last day of your life

'So what is significant?' 'That today might be the last day of your life.' George Ivanovich laughed mockingly. 'But doesn't everyone know that?! Everyone knows that today could be the end of it all!' The man in the turban paused. 'Everyone knows it my friend. But not everyone feels it. Everyone knows it as a … Continue reading The last day of your life

Funeral Tribute

My father was an accomplished, big-hearted man, naturally able and rounded in his abilities, with a good mind and skilful hands: woodwork, plumbing, painting and decorating, car maintenance, printing, bookkeeping, cooking, modern ‘O’-level maths, a smattering of Spanish, green bowling, a good bass voice and sense of harmony, and a graceful, graceful dancer. In his … Continue reading Funeral Tribute

Heaven, Hell and Life After Death

When the chips are down, I don't believe in Heaven or Hell as some vision of Life After Death. Let me be clear though: I do believe in Life After Death. I shall live on in the worms and grass and bacteria, and the birds who eat the seeds from the plants and trees I … Continue reading Heaven, Hell and Life After Death

My half century

I am 50 today. It's strange. There is a feeling of having arrived – solid, adult, an achievement. I am a work-in-progress: who am I? who/what am I for? And, inevitably, there is death around the bend in the road. Somehow the now, the not-yet and the no more are held together. It beats me. … Continue reading My half century

Thoughts at a bedside

What are we doing when we sit in prayer with a person as they are dying? The prayer, the blessing, is in the particulars: these lines and wrinkles; this graying hair; these tired, baggy eyes; this pattern of breath; this body, these cells that hold all, all, all that this person is. Has this person … Continue reading Thoughts at a bedside

Going Home

This body will return to earth become one, again, with the round world: seep into soil, dissolve decay into richness life-giving dust, remnants of a kind flame, scattered motes of blown smoke collected by the smallest of creatures; water, the most of me, pattering outside a listener's window becomes Water of Life once more runs … Continue reading Going Home