The Eternal Is Always Present
Pastoral Letter April 1, 2012
Dear Members and Friends,
My heart is so full I cannot find the words to thank you for all the lovely cards, notes, and phone-calls you have sent me during this most difficult time in my life. Your love and concern sustain me as I wait for March thirty-first, to attend the memorial for my son, Henry.
In his play, The Lady’s Not For Burning, Christopher Fry has a young girl say these words after she has been told that she must die with her mistress in a tomb.
“Oh well, Death is a new interest in Life”.
I have found that statement to be a source of energy and healing. Recently I was asked to attend a meeting to plan a radio station for Hyde Park. Before Henry’s death, I would have told the convener that I was much too busy to add yet another responsibility to my life. Now I find that I have the energy to do many new things, which is a great surprise to me.
My first experience of loss was when I was about four years old, and spent the morning hours in the back yard of the parsonage, drawing with crayon, using the ground as my table. When my mother called me for lunch, I left the crayons in the noonday sun. When I returned to my “art work,” I no longer had crayons. Instead, I had round pools of color. (Does anyone remember my sermon on the Importance of Roundness?) I had a sense of loss, but I did not cry. I realized that I still had my crayons, but in a different form. That was my first time finding out that things come to an end. Later my mother explained to me that many objects will melt and change shape in the hot midday sun. For some reason, this first sense of loss feeds into all the other losses in my life, not one so tragic as losing a son at age seventy-six.
All things have a beginning and an end, including our personal lives. We certainly do not know much about life before birth: that remains a mystery; but once we are born we live in clock-time, and must adjust our daily schedules according to the clock. I remember in grammar school anxiously watching the hexagonal clock on the wall, and waiting for it to say three-thirty, when the school day would end.
But all of life is not under the clock. We live in every moment in another dimension, the Eternal. You may have had an experience you describe as an event when time stood still. In our inner being, we say: stay here with us, as if the clock could be stopped. The Eternal is present to us always, though we may not recognize it. Recently a friend played for me a CD of the Mozart Requiem, played by the London Philharmonic. As the wonderful chords of the music entered my soul, I knew I had moved into the dimension of the Eternal. We never know when the Eternal will interrupt our clock-time and point us in an entirely new direction. The Eternal is the birthplace of the New, which is a mystery, but a strangely comforting mystery.
I look forward toward seeing you soon, to thank you in person for your kindness in my time of grief.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 May 2012 13:39)
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