Sunday, November 21, 2004

Into the Black

Listening to the Helene Grimaud Credo, I'm reminded of something Jennifer Lash (mother of Ralph and Sophie Fiennes) said in the last book to be published in her lifetime, On Pilgrimage. When she knows that she's dying of cancer, she decides to walk to Santiago de Compostela. Despite its fame as a Cathholic shrine, her books is, to quote Father Ted, 'an ecumenical matter', and she visits a number of other shrines and retreat centres on the way (including a Buddhist place). One thing she said in the book has always stuck in my mind, however. She says that the bad things in life are there to slow us up. A simple statement, but one that is incredibly insightful. Half the time we're running around trying to get things done by yesterday - I speak from personal experience - and get all het up when things don't happen straight away, and get resentful of delays. But what we fail to see is that these delays are there for a reason. They teach us two things: we have to submit to the bad stuff - which cuts our ego down to size - and we have to learn to live according to another time frame than the one our ego dictates. With me, things have to be done right now, if not yesterday. But the time frame I should be using is that of eternity, or timelessness (the two are the same). We have to trust in the fact that, if we have faith, then all will be well. Half the time our problems stem from the fact that we are living in the wrong sort of time - i.e. the 'me now' time, rather than the 'time it takes' time. When we get into these 'me now' foot stamping moods, we could remember what John Michell said: 'Things are better taken care of than you could possibly imagine.' Jennifer Lash was right.

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