Thursday, 28 May 2015

As love which flows ...

University feels a very long time ago (maybe because it is). But way back then I lived with a group of people who, even now, when I talk about them in the collective, I refer to as "my housemates" despite the fact that it is more than ten years since we lived together, and that one of them was, strictly speaking, never our housemate in the first place anyway. I am aware that I was very lucky to be thrown together with this group of people who I still count among my best friends.

Lives have moved on of course since university days, and our lives all look very different to they did when were 18 (thank goodness!) and different to each others too. I am really pleased then, that in spite of jobs, marriage, children, physical distance and the general busy-ness of life, we have maintained our friendship.

When, last summer, one of my "housemates" not only asked me if I would read at her wedding but also asked if I had any suggestions of suitable texts, I, somewhat rashly perhaps, offered to write something. Actually, there was nothing rash about it at all. I thought long and hard before making the suggesting the idea. I don't normally write 'to order' but simply when the mood takes me so I knew there was a fairly high chance that I wouldn't be able to come up with anything anyway. More significantly I was also very aware, in making the offer that I wanted her to feel absolutely free to say thanks, but no thanks; both immediately, and more importantly, as a response to whatever I wrote. I didn't want her to be left thinking, 'nah, that's not what we want to say, but I suppose now she's written it we ought to use it'. If I went ahead and made the offer, it was because I decided she knew me well enough to know that when I said I wouldn't be offended if she didn't use it, I really meant it.

Trying to draw together some of the themes they hoped to express at their wedding, and inspired partly by my own experience of, at that point, about ten years of married life (which is probably as close as I'm ever going to get to a romantic comment on this blog), this was the result:

As rain which pours
From endless skies

And in these drops
From heaven sent
Are born
The newness
A source
Welling up
And spilling over

And is this joy?
The bubbly exuberance
Of refreshment
Into rainbows
The confidence of youth

And in this
Tumultuous tumbling
A mass of rocky debris

The jagged edges
Which might yet be
The solid foundations
Of a life not yet lived

As criss-crossed streams
Through friendships formed
And moments shared
In tracks and grooves
Of other lives
Or carving out
A new way

All their own
And is this grace?
The giving way
To the twisting complications
These realities
We call life

Which bump and spill
Through obstacles
and invitations
The eddies of a pace
which speeds and slows
But is never

In streams which meet
And flows that mingle
Becoming one
As a stronger flow
Flows on
And carries
Greater burdens
Greater life

A river which at its joining
Offers no barriers
But opens space
Where others too

Might find a place
And is this faith?
The tumbling
Blindly off a cliff
With the energy
Of trusting
Life flows on
In an unknown
better place
Where the other
Also leaps

To follow
No straight line route
From a to b
The landscape of a lifetime
By this

And is this peace?
To know
The end may not be
The destination

When on this shore
Waves gently lap
Across rounded pebbles
Rubbed smooth
By the trusting of time

With the satisfied sigh
Of a life well-lived

As joy, and grace, and faith, and peace
Find love.

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