Not for ever by still waters,
would we idly quiet stay,
but would smite the living fountain
from the rocks along our way.
So goes the hymn "Father hear the prayer we offer" that I heard sung for the first time in ages this Sunday. You may have guessed by now that I inhabit waters that are tigerish rather than still and this old hymn has always been been like my signature tune.
I was down on the South Coast saying goodbye to friends and the liturgy we attended was "Ordinary" but beautifully and simply done. This type of liturgy means loads of hymns and I am happy to sing, provided I don't make a habit of it. The church we attended was simply so beautiful it was a joy to be in it. The beauty was not just architectural, but angelic. They were there in force! I suppose they always are, but this weekend they were palpable. The friend I went down with noticed it too and it was in stark contrast to the wholesale crappiness of the town itself. I'm sure they weren't just there for our benefit, the people of the place need their love too. Our friends in that town most certainly do.
There are lots more "goodbyes" coming up. I hope they can all be as carefree and unsentimental as the ones this weekend.
Mass at that delightful church ended with Newman's "Lead Kindly Light", which seemed a little sombre and out of place. The hymn seems to be all about the loss of the angels and a hoped for reunion with them, not about their palpable presence. However, it didn't make me pensive or think there is some impending foreboding darkness. The hymn is potently linked to my past as I had sung it to my husband as he lay dying and I'd made the nurses cry. But there is no sentiment there, I'm not thinking about the future or the past with any feeling. I'm just to enjoy the company of the angels in the present and in the midst of all the mad rushing about getting stuff sorted and tidying up my current job and workspace, I am still.
My friend photographed me on the pier at the seafront. I received a copy via e-mail this morning. I'm not used to pictures of myself, especially ones of me in profile: a nose that doesn't know if it is Irish or Chinese, a badly surgically reconstructed ear (I'm not Vulcan), the large bottom lip that looks like it is missing a cigarette hanging from it, the chins inherited from both sides of the family, the slightly scruffy hair.... no oil painting, but as I look at this image of someone whom others would recognise as me, I am content to stare at her as she stared at the sea knowing that waters around me will continue to be tigerish and I am happy that they are.... and in all probability, the next sea I will stare at will be the Black one. Deo Volente.