Friday, 25 April 2014

Love every day

Love is here.  Love is here, within us, without us, all around us, each day every day.  Always has been, always will be. 
I wrote this down because I needed to hear/see the words for myself.  The thing is though, I'd always known this way deep down.  We all do really. 
This poem can be sung.
Love, love, love every day.
Love, love in every way.

Love is kindness,
Love is living inside us,
Love is - all around us,
just open your eyes.

Love is shining within you,
Love is reaching out to you
Love will always be with you
holding your hand.

Love’s in the stars in the night sky
Love’s in the clouds that go sailing by
Love’s in the birds that fly so high
Love’s everywhere.

Love speaks gentle words to you
Comforts and cares for you
Smiles as it blesses you
Watch and you’ll see

Love is ever hopeful
Love is never boastful
Love is joyful and wonderful
Love never dies.

Love will always watch over you
Love will never give up on you
Faithfully stands by you
just wait and you’ll see.

Love is waiting for you today
Waiting for you to say
“Come fill my life today”
Believe it’s for you.

Love, love, love every way
Love , love – is in every day.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A fairytale for grown-ups

The Goose and the Shepherd

We set off from the reed beds and marshes north of the Great Lakes and spent half the day just gaining height and waiting for the right wind.  We easily covered four hundred miles that day and what with the climbing and circling it was by far the longest flight that I’d ever taken.

When we were settled that evening in a vast meadow, I looked around for my brother who was just that little bit younger than me, but I never saw him.  I went over to ask Mum but she quietly turned away, just as Dad stepped in to tell me that my wee brother never made it over the lakes.  By the look in his eyes I could tell he thought we’d never see the little one again.  Even so, we rested and fed and I listened to talk about the journey ahead, snow covered mountains for hundreds of miles ahead and never a place to rest till we should cross them.  With that and thoughts of my brother I was already feeling more than a little anxious.  Mum made sure that I ate well and often led me towards some small insect nests and told me not to worry.


We set off again after a few days.  It was still the middle of autumn and although we had far to go I remembered what Dad had told me before we set off, that with each day we’d be leaving the oncoming winter further behind us.  At first I flew well and I could feel the strength in my body, the power in my wings.  I always managed to stay close to mum or dad just as they’d shown me when they first taught me to fly.  But then I lost sight of them as we rose over a storm below.  Then not only did my strength begin to fail but my good hopes and courage too.  I slipped farther and farther back down the line and eventually settled in with a much slower flight of about twenty slightly smaller geese.  This was a pace that I thought better suited to me but then on looking round I saw that there were no longer twenty but only four of us.  I couldn’t bear to think what had happened to the others.  My heart sank.  Far in the distance, far over to the west flew a thick black line.  I knew that there went Mum and Dad, and with them my hope.


That evening I rested on a hillside where the trees gave way to a spread of open grassland.  There wasn’t much to eat as I had to share my meal with the many sheep which flocked there.  How could I go on now I wondered?  Just the four of us, how would we ever manage that distance on our own?  Did we even know the way?  Then came the Shepherd, quietly lulling a tune, gently trodding the grass, watching his sheep, then gathering them for the night into a nearby stone pen.  He was some sort of company and my heart lifted a little as I watched him light his fire and brew his tea.  When the night came down I looked around for the others but they were nowhere to be seen.  I shuffled as near the shepherd as I dared, just for companionship.  I slept as well as I could and in the morning he was still there, opening the gate of the pen to let his sheep out to graze.  I didn’t wander far and in the evening he returned lulling his tune and setting his fire.


“Little goose, little goose,” I heard him say, “You seem to be lost little goose.”  I listened and he went on.  “I know that you understand my speech, I have a way with words, you know.  You see it’s like this, little goose, you’re sad and lonely and wondering what to do.  Oh, I know, we’ve all been that way at one time or another, I recognised the look.  You’re probably wondering where you went wrong.  Where are the others?  Why does the journey have to be so long, so difficult?  And your heart is sad because you are missing your loved ones, sorrowful because you think of the ones who never made it, that maybe you’re going the same way.  Well, little goose, I’ll tell you a story.”  Then he opened up his backpack, tore up some bread and threw it down for me.  I settled down to listen while he brewed up his tea. 


“Long long ago, you see, the people couldn’t fly at all.  Wait a minute!  Did I hear you say that they don’t have any wings?  Oh, not on the outside they don’t, they’re on the inside, hidden away you see, better protected there.  Anyway, the great father of all geese and people, well he told them a story that taught them to fly, to fly on the wings of love.  Does it sound silly, to fly on the wings of love?  Surely you know yourself that when you were wrapped in the wings of your own Dad you felt that anything was possible?”  I chewed my crust and said nothing. 

“Anyway, he told them a story that taught them to fly and then by and by, a little at a time, some began to listen, just a few here and there.  Then they began their long journey home and like yours that journey is difficult, sometimes fearful and often full of sorrow.  And then for hundreds and hundreds of years they taught one another.  Sometimes the others listened and learned to fly too.  Sometimes others laughed at them and said we know better.  But those who listened learned to fly and so passed the story on to others who were also ready to listen. 


Sometimes this one or that one would take the lead and the others would form a great V-shape behind them and they would fly on for many years like this.  And although many never did complete the journey, still they played their part and without them the flock would not have got this far.  Sometimes one near the back would think he should be the leader, only to find that when he got to the front he didn’t know the way after all.  Than back he would go to hide himself among the flock.  But mostly the one in the lead found himself, or herself there quite by accident.  Then they would often wish that they were further back in the flock.  But of course that’s not the way it works, you don’t get to choose the part you have to play, not when you’re trusting in love.  The ones who were the best leaders were the ones who knew to put their trust in the wind, to soar high above the storms, and remember the sound directions given to them by their fathers who had gone that way before them. 


And so they turned the story into poems and songs, paintings and books and put them up as signposts for those who were to follow.  And the people learned to read them and even watch out for them.  They sung, not only of the joy of reaching the land once again, but of the sorrows and sufferings and why these were so very important in learning to fly well.  Yet even nowadays they haven’t reached their destination, they still fly on in hope, ever more realising the importance of the flock, the importance of sharing the burden.  Setting aside differences, so that they can come together as one in the same love that has carried them this far.  Helping one another let go of the earth and all that keeps them tied to the ground, so that they become free to fly away.” 


And then it was morning.  Had I slept?  I still don’t know.  The shepherd smiled and looked up at the sky and beckoned with his crook.  “Go little goose,“  He said, “Go.  Go tell them.”  My eyes followed the direction that he pointed and there I saw the most wondrous sight I’ve ever seen.  Ten thousand geese flying out of the east, and every voice I heard seemed to be calling out to me.  My heart leaped and raced and I was on my feet and into the air. 

I flew round and around the hillside,  honking wildly as  passed over the shepherd, gaining height and soon I was amidst the flock once more.  My joy was full and I felt like a king when I saw that it was my own little brother right there in front of me.  Together we flew on and on and on.


And that’s the story.  That’s the story I tell to the young as they wait for their flight feathers to grow.  A story, not of me, not of a shepherd, but the story that we all share.