Hi folks !! Hope you all are well and in good festive spirits.
It seems an age since I posted and I have missed being in regular touch with you all and I certainly have some catching up to do !
I have just arrived back from sailing on the high seas around the Canary Islands - We had some rough seas on the outward sail through the Bay of Biscay as per usual, but also some good weather to make up for it and I met some great people both on ship and onshore.
But, after the car journey back home to Cornwall from Southampton this morning, involving long delays and circuitous routes trying to get around several road accidents. I opened the door to discover my central heating has given up the ghost. The repair men can only get here tomorrow morning so I'm sitting here tonight in my winter coat and gloves !
I hope the heating gets sorted out before hypothermia sets in !!
Although there is no snow here, several parts of the UK including my county of Cornwall have experienced very heavy rainfall while I have been away with many flood warnings in place.
I also know that many of my friends in the USA have been experiencing heavy snowfalls and extreme weather with more to sweep in by the weekend so I hope you all manage to stay warm and safe.
Meanwhile I found a reflection by John O Donohue in my drafts called Thin Lace and it is a nice one to describe some of the encounters I have had while spending my first Advent and Christmas at sea.
It was strange to be away from home and at first I did feel a bit like odd holes were appearing in my Advent experience this year !!
I am conscious of the long distances many travel at this time of year to be with loved ones. For those who work at sea as part of a ship's crew it can be a time of yearning and sadness at being away from home and family.
The Advent journey for me this year was an unusual one as it was on a "camel of the seas" that we travelled through Advent towards Christmas Day.
We were exceptionally blessed and delighted to have a daily celebration of Mass on board ship by Fr Gerard Bradley, Director of Spiritual Formation from St John's Seminary at Wonersh, UK, who was on board as part of his sabbatical year and the Midnight Mass was a wonderful joint celebration by crew and passengers.
John O'Donohue's piece below also helps me reflect on the crossing of various meridians and time lines as we approach the end of the year.
There is the infinity of space that reaches out into the depths of the cosmos;
the infinity of time reaching back over billions of years.
A world lies hidden behind each human face.
In some faces the vulnerability of inner exposure to these depths becomes visible.
When you look at some faces, you can see the turbulence of the infinite beginning to gather to the surface.
This moment can open in a gaze from a stranger,
or in a conversation with someone you know well.
Suddenly, without their intending it or being conscious of it,
their gaze becomes the vehicle of some primal inner presence.
This gaze lasts for only a second.
In that slightest interim something more than the person looks out.
Another infinity as yet unborn, is dimly present.
You feel that you are being looked at from the strangeness of the eternal.
The infinity gazing out at you is from an ancient time.
We cannot seal off the eternal.
Unexpectedly and disturbingly,
it gazes in at us through the sudden apertures in our patterned lives.
A friend, who loves lace, often says that it is the holes in lace that render it beautiful.
Our experience has this lace structure…..
John O’Donohue, Anam Chara