“Brief life is here our portion,
Brief sorrow…short-lived care.
The life that has no ending,
the tearless life is there.
There God, our King and Portion…
in fullness of His Grace,
We shall then see forever,
and worship face to face.”
Bernard of Cluny
“In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we come to realize that, in this life, all symphonies must remain unfinished.”
“There are things you can’t reach. But you can reach out to them, and all day long. The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God. And it can keep you busy as anything else, and happier. I look; morning to night I am never done with looking. Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around as though with your arms open.”
“What’s inside is all there is to know, my heart, my spirit, my God, my soul. A borrowed body, an ephemeral cloak, I am the winds of love, the breath of hope.”
My Prayer today is for forbearance. Life in its brief beauty is a gift, its loves and its losses both our great privilege, and our great sorrow. Nothing is neatly tied up. The more we love the more we have to lose. The more uncertainties we have, the more our questions go unanswered. Everything is somehow insufficient this side of heaven. Sometimes we don’t feel like the fortunate ones who still have life and breath in our lungs. Those who have gone before us, know something we don’t. Something we are yet to find out – and now know only in glimpses. Our job to be somehow at peace with this lack of completion, somehow able to receive our losses with grace. Mary Oliver says there are things we can’t reach, but we can reach out to them. I pray today for us all, that the reaching out will be enough. God has a way of not answering our questions, or fulfilling our longings. But His spirit with us is a down payment, of what will come. Our Lord, who in the words of Mary Oliver was ‘once young, and will never in fact be old’ is both here and there, and in some senses so therefore are we. One day we will be completely there. Our unfinished symphonies will hear their final notes. The pattern will be finished, our lives make sense. He will be our portion. All will be completed. Till then we wait, not in joyless acquiescence but in hopeful anticipation….
These are drawn from daily prayers and reflections I write for my Chaplaincy colleagues.