There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Let Peace Begin With Me

All the great things are simple, and many
 can be expressed in a single word: 
freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. 
~Winston Churchill

Stuart and I recently took a short break up to Leicester and Coventry. We wanted to pay our respects to Richard III in Leicester and also visit Coventry Cathedral, one of the few cathedrals we haven't visited yet. Travelling together is one of the things Stuart and I do best and love the most, and we made it a mission for ourselves 17 years ago to visit every cathedral in Britain. We're nearly there and Coventry Cathedral was one of the last on our list.

We climbed the tower and looked down
 on the footprint of the old cathedral,
 and also the new cathedral which rose
 like a phoenix from the ashes of the blitz.

Coventry was bombed during WWII between the Augusts of 1940 and 1942, and the very worst of the blitz on this city, located in the heart of Britain, occurred 75 years ago last evening, the evening of November 14th, 1940. Very little of Coventry's city centre remained standing after the night of bombing, but outer walls and the tower of the cathedral stood amidst the rubble.

"They bombed in straight lines from east to west, and then they started from south to north."  ~Alan Hartley, Coventry (witnessed the attack at the age of 16.)

The second I stepped into what remains of the old cathedral, I began to cry almost uncontrollably--but I was in good company because Churchill did the same when confronted with the destruction of the ancient cathedral, first built between the late 14th and the early 15th centuries.

If you're going through hell, keep going. 
~Winston Churchill

What remains of the outer walls of the old cathedral.

The spirit of reconciliation and peace was present as soon as Coventry started to rebuild it's cathedral and it's now a worldwide centre working toward those goals. "Father Forgive" were the words almost immediately placed over the high altar of the bombed out cathedral.

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
~Mahatma Ghandi

The new cathedral sits adjacent and perpendicular to the old, 
so there's a flow from old to new, from destruction to reconciliation.

'St. Michael and the Devil', by Sir Jacob Epstein,
looms over the entrance of the cathedral.
Inside the cathedral a tapestry of Christ, commanding his throne and dominion over all, hangs at the front of the cathedral. It's hangs ceiling to floor and it is the colours of creation--of hope and vibrant life. Wooden carvings that hang over the choir echo Sadoko Sasaki, a child victim of Hiroshima and her '1000 Cranes of Peace'.

I will write peace on your wings
and you will fly all over the world.
~Sadako Sasaki

Stunning stained glass windows curve around the nave.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
 there is a field. I'll meet you there........
~Rumi, Persian Poet

The Statue of Reconciliation,
Coventry Cathedral
The spirit of Peace that reigns in Coventry Cathedral stayed with me long after we left, so it was one of the first things I thought of yesterday morning in the aftermath of the Friday night attacks on Paris--as well as it was the anniversary of the worst attack of the Coventry Blitz.

There can never be peace made with evil, but there can be peace made between people. There was no better example of that than the fact that Friday night's football match in the Paris stadium was between France and Germany--70 years almost to the day that German bombs fell on Coventry. Until the moment evil broke through, French and German people sat together in peace. Peace is possible in this world and my prayer today is, as it always is, let it begin with me.

If we have no peace, it is because we 
have forgotten that we belong to each other. 
~Mother Teresa

Grant, gentle Father, 
that your Spirit may give us the
 will and the courage to act to make a difference,
 in order to make real your kingdom among us,
 so that we may we all live together in peace,
 truth, justice and love,
 sharing the resources of the earth. 
(A prayer from the Jesuit Institute)


  1. I love the scripture we quote at Christmas time: Isaiah 9:6 -- "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. .. . the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. . . " And, of course, it goes on to say His kingdom will be established in justice and with righteousness and will be forevermore. That is the hope of all the ages, isn't it, and I believe those who constructed the great cathedrals believed it, too, and built them to the glory of God; there will be seasons of peace and seasons of evil in the world, and we must always go forward in hope, but ultimately, one day, there will be real and total Peace forever. It is what we all long for, isn't it. I love how C. S. Lewis described it . . . "the glimpse of a country not yet seen; the scent of a flower and the sound of a tune we do not yet know." It is coming and gives us hope. Our prayers are with France and all who are suffering from this evil currently sweeping our world. And one day, they, too, will have peace. Thank you, Carrie, for posting this poignant remembrance. Jane xo

    1. I love that verse from Isaiah too and it's one I had to memorize for a Sunday School Christmas program many, many years ago--it was "my" verse to recite and I remember so well how those words rolled off my tongue, even though I was 8. C.S. Lewis' "Far Off Country" is such a powerful image--as is his idea that heaven and hell work backwards. I've always thought my job is to live as though heaven is here and now. Peace Be to all of us. xxxooo