On 27 April we (all over 70) had a blow out coming down a mountain pass near Villiersdorp in the Western Cape of South Africa. We were able to stop immediately. We were really struggling to change the wheel. Eventually a car stopped. It was Arnold du Preez of “Snail and Slug Solutions”. Arnold immediately offered to help us and after much effort was able to change the wheel. It was also dangerous for Arnold and us all because fast passing traffic was constantly rushing past about a meter from us. Thankfully were able to continue our journey,due to Arnold’s act of kindness.
The incident taught me an important lesson: All it takes is one act of kindness to make someone’s world a better place.
Thanks for the lesson Arnold – may we follow your example and be kind when next we come across a person in need, whatever that need may be.
It keeps eternal whisperings around Desolate shores …. …. Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude, Or fed too much with cloying melody— Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood, Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!
Keats suggests that if we have had enough of this noisy world, we should go to a quiet place by the sea and sit “near some old Cavern’s mouth and brood”. Suddenly, out of the silence we may be startled to hear choirs of sea nymphs singing.
We are being called to go back to nature and to allow her to gently embrace us in her healing arms.
This sacred call of the sea is exquisitely captured in the beautiful photograph below. Be still. Can you hear the call?
A big thank you to Mariska Spoormaker for permission to use her beautiful photograph. Mariska took the picture on the Sacramento Trail near Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
Yes we can! Read this story about a mouse. My son in London wrote it.
Lets all listen up and learn!
What the mouse treading milk in the bucket is really about
It’s about two things. The first is the obvious one that everyone knows about. The second is the less obvious but the most important.
The first is about not giving up when in a difficult situation. It’s about keeping going because you never know what might happen. And while this is good advice it is also self-evident. The second is about doing work you don’t want to do. No mouse wants to be stuck in a bucket treading milk. But look what happens when he keeps going. The milk turns to butter. Not only does this change provide salvation for the mouse but it turns the milk into something very useful. And a whole bucket of it.
Work is like this. No matter what work you do, if you keep at it, it turns into something very useful. Things start to happen as if by magic. Take a janitor cleaning a floor. Nobody wants to do that. But if he keeps at it then he begins to notice how to do it in the most efficient way, which chemicals work best, when to do the work and so on. How many million-dollar cleaning businesses started this way? And yet they began with work that nobody wanted to do.
Whenever you do anything hard you are treading milk. Like with treading milk you may not see any progress for a long time. The quality of your output (whatever that might be) won’t change at first it and it may seem like it never will. But then… slowly, the milk begins to turn into butter. The output becomes valuable and sought after and you, its creator, will begin to love it. And all this happens through nothing more than persistence. You don’t need to learn. You need to keep going.
The forest has spoken. This weekend, this leaf, dressed in gentle shades of autumn, drifted down from the forest canopy in the Island Nature Reserve near Port Elizabeth in South Africa. The leaf’s message was clear: “Autumn is here. Winter for all of us is not far off. But remember. After the winter will come the spring and then the warmth of another summer. Learn from me, a humble leaf. Learn the lesson of the seasons. The winter of this Covid will pass too. Have faith in the passage of time. Rest assured. A new day is coming for us all.”
“Telos (/ˈtɛ.lɒs/; Greek: τέλος, translit.télos, lit. “end, ‘purpose’, or ‘goal”) is a term used by philosopher Aristotle to refer to the full potential or inherent purpose or objective of a person or thing, similar to the notion of an ‘end goal’ or ‘raison d’être‘. Moreover, it can be understood as the “supreme end of man’s endeavour”.“
So we can and should ask ourselves: What is the inherent purpose or chief end of my life?
If we don’t know, then we could be living our lives going in the wrong direction. What a tragic waste!
Here is a clue about our telos from the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
As the Book of Common Prayer advises, may we “Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest.”
I was phoned today from halfway across the world by someone who had just lost a loyal friend. He said he felt he had lost part of himself. After telling him how sorry I was I said I could do no more than read to him the words of John Donne who was Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London from 1621 to 1631. Please listen. You may have to turn up the volume. Thank you.
Lozenzo Scupoli suggests that after praying and seeking God’s will, we should, with full dependence on God, labor more diligently to become worthy of receiving what we pray for. This means that the work of prayer should be followed by us applying all our strength to obtain what we pray for. If we fail to work hard and just sit back after praying, we are testing God, not praying.
Just something to think about ….Comments would be helpful.
Reflections on reading an expanded version “Unseen Warfare: The Spiritual Combat and Path to Paradise” by Lorenzo Scupoli (1530-1610).