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the crookedshore, the burning church and Rumi

January 3, 2008

Two encounters brought me some measure of joy recently. Whilst walking the dog we came up from the muddy track by the crookedshore and onto the road. As we made our way alongside a narrow path on the edge of a country road a man came towards me on his bike.

I envied him.

As he drew level, this stranger looked at me, nodded and said, ‘Happy New Year’. I was surprised and delighted and smiled in return.

Just a little way further on we needed to cross the road, the dog and I. I invited him to sit and wait patiently while I checked the road was clear. I looked ahead, then as I turned round to look in the opposite direction I heard a horn sounding.

To my delighted surprise a man driving a maroon peugeot car had stopped his vehicle, tooted the horn, and then waved the two of us across the road. Just a simple, beautiful moment. I waved at him, he smiled, and as he passed me, he waved.

I am blessed, and at this moment I know it. In a world in which human beings can rip a three year old child from her mother’s arms and throw her back into a burning church, why should I receive such moments?

There is no sense to this.

But on this small journey I also had these words for company. From the 13th century Muslim mystic and poet Rumi

        When pain arrives side by side with your love
        I promise not to flee
        When you ask me for my life
        I promise not to fight

        I am holding a cup in my hand
        By God if you do not come
        Till the end of time
        I promise not to pour out the wine
        Nor to drink a sip

From → Musings, Poetry

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