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Dark balm

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

(post written in March 2020, at the start of the corona lockdown) 3 in the morning and awake. Again. This time not tossing and turning in bed, but up, in my dressing gown and slippers, sharing an online live meditation with other insomnious souls. I sit unexpectedly happy. It is like bathing in the calm and balm of the dark, in the still hours of neither-yesterday-nor-today. (Silly, really: there is always a ‘today’, is there not? But this feels like limbo and for once this in-between feels like a gift). The simple glimmer of a candle is a living companion to my vigil. A friend. I need friends. The world is in turmoil. Is this the groan of indigestion, our planet wanting to turn its insides out, unable to hold out any longer against the sickening effects of humanity’s polluting lifestyle? … one single belch has overwhelmed us; we have received this life-ravaging blight. No respecter of persons. Young and old, rich and poor. Them and us. You, and me. Surely there is a bigger story unfolding among us. We are struggling to find meaning: we find the value that we had assigned to our self-preserving, accumulating, individualistic lifestyles now undermined, as we recognise their futility. Old, deep questions force themselves into view, questions to which we already knew some answers – if we only dared look at our hearts - but perhaps only now acknowledge: what is it all about? When I start to share food with my neighbour, when I smile at strangers in the street, when I while away hours dreaming up ways to give pleasure to my community; when I have time to plant my garden, to make paper flowers, to write letters with a fountain pen, to bake; when I find I love just being alive because I share that life with the world and the people around me … it is then that I understand something more fundamental about it all, what this life is for, and turn my heart to thankfulness, and experience joy. Thankfulness … joy.

Because we live this life together. You and I, we need each other. It’s 3 in the morning. Again. Joy.

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