Sunday 6 March 2016

Last Sunday's sermon

I wish I'd had my camera last Sunday morning. Like so many times. But if I'd had one I'd have wished to be able to take a photo invisibly, imperceptibly, so as not to jolt that holy moment.

I'll try and paint it with words then. Picture a bench on the side of a rough track, the kind of road only a few hardy farm vehicles will travel down. A bench dedicated to a loved one, maybe someone who liked to walk their dog along the quiet track, with only the birds for company. Who liked to stop a while and catch their breath and look out upon the English countryside. That typical kind of undramatic rolling hedge-lined country side, of muted greens and browns. Naked trees under white winter clouds.

Picture two friends sat upon the bench, in easy companionship forged over more than seven years, tracking from Brighton to North Wales to Cornwall to today and the counties north of London. We've wound our way back to each other.

Picture a mohawk standing proud, but soft, standing out turquoise and bright against the bare branches, the rolling grey edges of the sky. Leaving listening ears exposed, only two of the many holes on offer inhabited by heavy silver hoops, catching the light as it struggles to surface. Picture a red scarf pulled out from the wicker basket under the stairs, a black leather jacket - the proper heavy kind. Gloves and boots plaster-streaked, this woman grafts hard. Picture kind eyes rimmed by new eyelashes, skin smooth, just faintly lined by three daughters and a whole lot of life before them.

And here I find my Sunday sermon, or rather, it finds me. A surprise gift following on from other surprise gifts: jerk chicken, fiancée glow filling the kitchen - filling faces with wide grins, squeezes from blonde girls all grown tall but still wrapped in the tiger blanket on the sofa, still smiling.

This mohawked mother friend, who's been my blonde friend, my brown friend, my drum-and-bass, mountain climbing, river swimming, poem writing, festival going friend -  reminds me to find the joy in the mundane. To make peace with where I am at, right now. To trust that love leaks out more easily than I think, more than I'll ever see.

We talk about our men and a love that risks, rescues and restores. About being women, and the challenge to stay true and tenacious and tender. We talk about drugs and body hair and porn and the moments that are breaking and shaping us.  Our eyes shine wet as the sun breaks through and warms our cheeks as we talk about guilt and fear and faith and wonder what if life stayed looking small like this from the outside (but perhaps secretly streaked through by miracles of grace and growth, daily).

What if? What if nothing ever changed? Or at least from first glance. Because there's always space for change and growth, isn't there?

Because every day, no matter how small, presents opportunities to love, for the life light within us to shift the atmosphere. For love to leak out and leave a mark. And if that's the case then it's really never mundane, is it?

We wander back slowly, drinking in the morning. Buddy the dog running ahead, buzzard overhead.  We return to the kitchen table, to the people we see every day who are knocking off our corners. We eat cheese and ham toasties. I resolve to (try to) remember this conversation. I resolve to dwell in this unsettled season with grace. 

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