Tuesday, 11 August 2009

To be fed by Angels

Opening Prayer

Here I am Lord,
Speak to me
within my heart and soul.
I am listening.

Kings 19:4

‘I have had enough’


This is one of those two-tone phrases that you can read so much into. You imagine that to have enough is to be satisfied – to be without need – a good thing; but not always.

When I was a child - ‘I have had enough’ told me and my brothers that we had overstepped the mark. It is the phrase my nan and my mum would shout out as the final straw descended. As children we knew it was time to grow up a bit, and to try to make ourselves as invisible as possible! It was a phrase that could make my nan actually physically, truly, disappear.

My nan, had the minuted routine of the woman of the fifties – Monday – Washing; tidying; shops – Tuesday- ironing; beds and upstairs carpets. Everything done by hand and on foot and woe betide anything or anyone that got in her way – until ‘I have had enough’.

Then carpet slippers changed for court shoes, the wraparound apron came off, the headscarf and coat went on, the handbag was draped over one arm and she was off. And no-one said a thing, no-one mentioned it, we were in disgrace. We just tried to get through the rest of the day without her matriarchal presence until we woke in the morning to hear her bustling around cooking breakfast and carpet sweeping as though nothing had ever happened. Whoever she went to visit certainly made her feel better.

I was about ten before I even dared to bring it up. As reply, my granddad sent me to fetch her; she was in church. How had I never guessed? Our church was at the end of the street and as much as part of my home life as visiting my aunty opposite or the ‘other nan’ across the road. It was open all the time, as churches used to be. My nan was sitting by Our Lady’s chapel – two women having a chat about their families. I went and sat beside her and made myself just half visible in case I wasn’t welcome.

And in that way that women had, and probably Elijah would agree with, she said without looking at me but loudly enough for me to hear,

‘Life is hard – sometimes all you can do is get on with it and do your best and hope that that’s enough. But sometimes ‘enough’ is too much. So you bring it here and your give it to God and let God swap it for some peace and quiet. You can always trust God to know what to do with it.’
Then she did look at me and said ‘ And then you carry on.’

‘Along the way’

Whether good times or bad – there is always a point when you say ‘enough’ and you stop. Because you think the day can’t get any better or worse. You can’t be any more or less. It has a finality to it – enough; stop.

But very rarely can it be the end of anything – if you are full – you will be hungry again; if you are tired- you need to recuperate; if you are down-hearted - you need to find inspiration.

‘Enough’ could be taken as a marker to take the journey into the labyrinth. Remember our meditation journey during Lent and even into Pentecost where we found that winding path that took us away; took us within to God’s space within us.

It was lovely when churches where open all the time – to have Godspace inside and out. But God is with us always and if it is just a quiet part of the house it is enough to deal with the ‘enough’.

It is the optimistic soul who can see the good in everything – especially when you are in the everything and it isn’t good.

But if the outside world is causing you to say ‘ enough’, perhaps you can take the opportunity for this retreat within yourself – to go to the Lord when you don’t know what else to do or where else to go, then you will find that place to be fed by angels, to empty your troubles and to be filled with the grace that you need so that you can carry on.

Closing Prayer

May the blessing of the Sacred Three
The Father who gave us the Word
The Son who is the Word
The Spirit who opens the Word within us
Be with us today and evermore.


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