Walking Hand-in-Hand

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 I share with you a quote from Sacred Spaces:  Stations on a Celtic Way by Margaret Silf:

"When I was a child my parents' house backed onto a wood.  Every April  this wood was carpeted with bluebells.  As young as seven years old I felt I knew  every square foot of it.  Through an isolated childhood, with neither siblings nor close neighbors, the bluebell wood was my playground.  I had a place of my own in the depths of the woods, a grassy hollow that became my den.  I furnished  it with bits of stick, with brambles and rose-hips, and an occasional jam jar of bluebells when they were in season, and I was sure that God lived in my wood, and was especially present in my little hollow.  I used to write him notes, asking for his company on the dangerous missions that haunted  my extreme youth, such as those daunting birthday parties, or a summons to  the head teacher.  And sometimes I just wrote to say, 'Hello,' and let him know how I was feeling.  

The hollow became sacred space for me, and as the months and years passed I felt more and more at home there.  Perhaps I even sanctified it, by believing in its benevolence.  

It was many years later, long after I  had reached the age of reason and abandoned my childhood intimacy with the God of the woods, that I found out my sacred hollow was actually an old bomb crater.  When I first discovered it, this grass-covered oasis was hazardously fresh, a mere half-dozen years after the cessation of the Second World War and the bombing raids over my home town.  My sacred space, that only God and I knew about, may well have bee n concealing an unexploded bomb.

When I return, in memory, to this wooded hollow I often reflect on the strange relationship there seems to be between what is most creative in our lives and what is, potentially, most destructive.  It reminds me that to live life in all its fullness is to journey constantly in the company of risk that will challenge me beyond my 'comfort zone.'  I know that I can fall into the depths as readily, if not more so, as I rise to the heights of my experience.  I have come to recognize that joy and sorrow are two sides of a single coin, and my angels and demons walk hand in hand."


© Rev.Mary Ann Tourjee 2019