Amongst the raw anguish and alarm, Spring is here.
It’s impossible to say anything that makes much sense of current events.
We hear again this week of friends that have passed away. We hear this week of friends in desperate fear. We hear of all kinds of injustice and raw dejection.
But, away from the noise, do you not sense a faint almost tangible hope.
“All shall be well… and all manner of things shall be well…”
How on earth can all things possibly be well?
Last year I read Simon Parke’s ‘The Secret Testament of Julian’. A 14th-century anchoress in Norwich, Julian lived in a cell for forty years, surrounded by plague, misogyny, inequality, violence, and bigotry. You may like to read it, Simon paints a vivid picture. In her ‘Revelations of Divine Love’, Julian of Norwich struggled with a resonating idea that “All shall be well… and all manner of things shall be well…” In her writing she struggled for a dozen or so chapters; how on earth can all things possibly be well? Despite her petitions, she had a hope and confidence in something more.
“It is well, with my soul”.
I occasionally find myself repeating the song line “It is well, with my soul”.
Though the traditions and rituals seem to have no part in contemporary culture, I was brought up with an idea that possibly there’s more to this world than our worldly bling. The song “It Is Well With My Soul” was written by Horatio Spafford in the 1870s after several traumatic events in his life. Spafford had lost his son in a fire, his business interests struggled, he then lost his four daughters when their ship sank crossing the Atlantic to Europe. I cannot grasp the reflections in the rest of the song but the haunting refrain ‘It is well, it is well, in my soul’ sticks with me.
Yes, all is really not well…
But, all manner of things shall be well.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
What I try to hold on to, what sometimes helps me through, is a simple complicated trust. Despite our arguments, despite our judgment and condemnation of many harsh realities of life, a trust in wellness, a hope in the largeness of less, a trusting recognition of what is immediately here with us now.
It’s not easy.
Pause… breathe in, hold on to that breath and close your eyes, exhale slowly….
Pause… breathe in, hold on to that breath… exhale slowly….
Hold on to that breath…
It’s difficult… but if you can find a way past the noise… …relinquish the arguments and petitions, the needs and wants we grasp for, and… like the Spring try to just be.
It’s a complicated simple trust… open the grasped hand and we might, hopefully, receive Spring.
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