No more fishing…

Today’s photo was taken on the Isle of Mull last April by my brother Mike (seen here on Flickr.)

I like the light effects he has added here… 


Weathered boards on the old dock
Sun trying to peak thru
The water like a sublime dream
Seagulls circle the boats
You were there with your humor
With your easy going smile
You loved to take people fishing

Soon I will go into memory
The waters will always laugh
Lakes, rivers and sea
Poetry of the tides
Campfires and moonlight
Old man and the sea
Get the net I gotta big one! 

Your fishing boat in the dusk

…there is no rush

The theology of progress forces us to act before we are ready. We speak before we know what to say. We respond before we feel the truth of what we know… 

There is no rush to get to the end, because we are never finished.

Take time to rest, and eat, and drink, and be refreshed.

(Wayne Muller found on inward/outward)

This challenged me today on a number of levels.

The past week has been filled with the unexpected and I felt compelled to respond before I was ready. Only time will tell if the decisions I made were the right ones.

Also I am always in a hurry, so impatient to move forward and to tick things off my ‘to do list’ as soon as possible. So I was challenged by the last part of this reflection, particularly as it closely mirrored some advice I was given at the weekend.

There is no rush to get to the end, because we are never finished.

Why am I impatient, in a hurry to get to the end? There is always going to be work to do! So this week I am taking a deep breath and I am finding those moments for rest, reflection and peace.

Picture is ‘M3 South Bound’ bMike Lockie on Flickr

… how shall I be dismayed?

Wanting for nothing, how shall I be dismayed?
Grieving for no thing lost or unattained,
why would I choke on the sharp bones of regret?
I am a guest in this house, thoughtful of my manners,
Mindful of my privileges, and so filled with gratitude
that when I pray, my prayers turn to praise upon my lips

This was part of the daily thought from Inward Outward and it really hit home.

I recently experienced a personal disappointment and felt rather slighted as a result.

I spent quite a while formulating a reply expressing my feelings succinctly (I thought) on the matter.

Then I read this and realised I was grieving for the thing “lost or unattained” and probably (more to the point) “choking on the sharp bones of regret”. Yet I couldn’t think of a good reason why!!

So my carefully constructed expression of disappointment was deleted.

And then mindful of all my “privileges” – all the wonderful and positive things (and people) in my life – I moved on in gratitude …and in praise 🙂

Picture is ‘shepherd’s delight’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr

Praise him…

Praise by R.S. Thomas

I praise you because
you are artist and scientist
in one. When I am somewhat
fearful of your power,
your ability to work miracles
with a set-square, I hear
you murmuring to yourself
in a notation Beethoven
dreamed of but never achieved.
You run off your scales of
rain water and sea water, play
the chords of the morning
and evening light, sculpture
with shadow, join together leaf
by leaf, when spring
comes, the stanzas of
an immense poem. You speak
all languages and none,
answering our most complex
prayers with the simplicity
of a flower, confronting
us, when we would domesticate you
to our uses, with the rioting
viruses under our lens.

Now that I am thinking about RS Thomas I thought I would post another of my favourites. Read this poem a couple of times… it is just wonderful.

I love the beauty and the power of Thomas’s imagery. Here we read of a God who is complex beyond our imagination, who is out of the reach of science.

This God murmurs to himself  “in a notation Beethoven dreamed of but never achieved”. He makes music in the rainwater and the waves. He sculpts with the shadows. He puts spring together for us …leaf by leaf… like a poet composing an epic poem.

He is the God of all human language but also the God beyond language… who speaks through his creation – “answering our most complex prayers with the simplicity of a flower”.

And we cannot domesticate him. We cannot define him or box him up -when we try, we will always discover more. God (like his creation) will riot when we put him under the microscope… growing bigger… multiplying before our amazed eyes.

I am humbled beyond words to worship such a God.

Picture is ‘cool, cool water’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr

Not knowing…

i was happy before

in the ignorance of not knowing
i was living without you

but now
you are more present
in your absence
than any of the things around me
that i can touch with certainty
at any time

the emptiness left by the imprint of your soul
has become the shape in which
i live my life.

Another wonderful poem from Cheryl at hold this space.

I love her stuff because it works on so many different levels.

This poem could be about the precious relationship/friendship that shattered… the death of a loved one… separation from family or friends. Their presence lingers… their influence still shaping the present and the future.

It also has echoes of R.S. Thomas and Via Negativa (Negative Theology). (If you read my old blog you will know how much I love Thomas’s poetry). Thomas speaks of a God who is wholly present in his absence, knowable in his hiddenness and who speaks in silence.

He is “the darkness between stars”.

We follow “the echoes…the footprints he has just left…”


Why no! I never thought other than
That God is that great absence
In our lives, the empty silence
Within, the place where we go
Seeking, not in hope to
Arrive or find. He keeps the interstices
In our knowledge, the darkness
Between stars. His are the echoes
We follow, the footprints he has just
Left. We put our hands in
His side hoping to find
It warm. We look at people
And places as though he had looked
At them, too; but miss the reflection

Via Negativa (R.S. Thomas)

Picture is ‘tiptoe through the shallows’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr

Rediscovering perspective…

When we’ve finished
debating and deliberating
moderating and pontificating
God remains
When we’ve crossed every last T
and dotted every last i
God hangs on in there
And when we stop for a moment
and acknowledge that
we cannot control the world
God stuns us
with the beauty of creation
peeping out from behind clouds
romping over sand dunes
rippling on the water
and suddenly
shakes down
and slots into place
and we are besotted again
with the God of mystery
whose majesty
is all around
even when we’re not looking
and whose wonder
saves us from ourselves
and all our plans
and lifts us up
to higher things.

(Liz Crumlish June 2011)

Wonderful slice of perspective from the wonderful Liz at Journalling … inspired (believe it or not) by a presbytery meeting (albeit one which ended with fish and chips in Girvan)!!

I think I might pin this up on my study wall to remind myself that beyond meetings and paperwork and debate…  beyond agendas and report writing and all those moments when you want to scream out loud… God IS.

Photo is ‘one day at a time‘ (from the beachlife set) by Mike Lockie on Flickr

perspective is good…

You are 1 person out of 7 billion people
On 1 planet out of 8 planets
In 1 star system out of 100 billion star systems
In 1 galaxy out of 100 billion galaxies
And you are enormously insignificant.”


Found this on Cheryl’s blog­ and it made me smile as did her comment – “I find such relief in being dispensable. it makes me work and live and love much better”.

Amen to that… especially on a Friday when I haven’t done all the things I meant to!

Picture is ‘Ardrossan Beach’ by Mike Lockie on Flickr