Burdens and Blessings

Here on this high headland the stubble glows in the evening light. At the field’s edge  great bales of straw are piled as high as my house. I watched this field being ploughed and planted last autumn. All footpaths lead to the sea. I’ll watch the planting again this year, God willing.

I’m not sure whether the stages of my journey until now could be described as a pilgrimage. Pilgrims have a destination. I don’t know what that is for me. I quote T.S. Eliot again: ‘the way forward is the way back’. My way forward now is in remembering  the past, especially people, friends and enemies. Mrs Llew often says: ‘God makes the best of a bad job’.  I wish for peace for my friends and enemies.

Journeys imply luggage. I walk with no outer burdens but many inward ones. One by one I pray that they will be shed.

Mrs Llew and I met 49 years ago in a Chelsea jazz club. There’s a memory that needs no healing. There’s a blessing – though I do not presume upon her agreement.

I heard today that an old University friend with whom I shared a dusty bedsit 53 years ago had died. We students then were ‘seekers’, interested in Eastern religions, mysticism and gnostic traditions.

My old friend died as a Quaker. I’m a member of the C.of E.  We have learned that we need no ‘mysteries’. The Gospels are our light and our healing.

I’m still on the headland with Mrs Llew, looking out – and back – to our family. There’s further to go.

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2 Responses to Burdens and Blessings

  1. churchmouse says:

    Lleweton — My deepest sympathies on reading about your good friend. These losses can be so difficult. My prayers for his soul — and for you.

    As to the rest of your post — talk about serendipity. I was thinking only today about my own spiritual journey and gnosticism. I, too, took the same path as you and your late friend. For several years, I was really ‘into’ the writings of Alan Watt, who was an Episcopal priest (originally from England) who was defrocked because he got too involved with Buddhism. (I’m sure he would never have been defrocked today.) Have you ever read his work? He wrote some fascinating books. I haven’t touched them in years, but I thought he was the bee’s knees back in the day.

    Then I also came to the realisation that we didn’t need all this special knowledge — gnosis. God wants us to have a simple faith. Over the past few years I started to think of all the people I knew personally who had that simple faith. Some had only a few years of schooling. They certainly didn’t go to university. However, they read the Bible a lot and had good churches to attend.

    I have started reading the Bible over the past year (accompanied by a good commentary — see my late Saturday posts for Sunday). It has brought me a new outlook on life. On the other hand, one realises what little biblical literacy people actually have (myself included). That’s part of the reason the world is the way it is.

    All best wishes to you and Mrs Llew.

    • lleweton says:

      Churchmouse: thank you for your prayers for my friend and for me. I believe that the dead can be helped by prayers for them and I hope that in due course people will pray for me and for mine. I won’t divert here into theological questions. We have All Souls Day. I’ll leave the issue at that.

      I had not heard of Alan Watt. My small group of friends who were interested 50 years ago in esoteric ‘schools’ and what was broadly termed ‘Ancient Wisdom’ were followers in various degrees of the writings of G.I.Gurdjieff and his sometime pupil P.D. Ouspensky. An idea of their teachings can quickly be found on the Internet today. In my youth part of the process – almost, I suppose, a ‘test’, came in seeking them out, and their practitioners. As, in your case, with Alan Watt and his Buddhism, I don’t disdain the Ouspensky ‘work’ as it was called. Its followers I knew at the time I respected. However it’s beyond me to build an ark with my own hands and sail to safety – I speak metaphorically.

      The more that, in my life I perceive a darkness at the heart of this fallen world the more I glimpse and grasp the amazing, immeasurable sacrifice of Christ in entering into it, taking it on, and effecting our rescue.

      Meanwhile I am very untutored in the Bible.

      Best wishes

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