On the Trail to Barclay Lake
John and Freddie resting



I saw the sun rise this morning
The mist clings to the trees in the Dales.
Sheep move like ghosts in the mist,
Faces buried in the sweet grass.

I saw your gentle face enshrouded with sleep.
Slowly your eyes open to me.
You smile,
And, I saw the sun rise this morning.

©Ruth A Jewell,  10-9-00, written on my honeymoon with John in the British Isles. 

This was written the morning after we’d stayed at a B&B, in Cumbria, in a very old farmhouse (more than 4oo years old) were the sheep grazed right under our bedroom window.  The house did not have central heating and it was very cold in our room (no heat in the bathroom either), with only one light bulb in the very tall ceiling.  In the morning there was a heavy fog, and outside the window sheep were grazing and moving in and out of sight.  You could hear their bells tinkling and listen to their gentle voices while cropping grass.  It was wonderful.

Ramblings July 28, 2010

It is in the small moments of the day that I find the greatest peace.  I don’t HAVE to go to a separate location to find God, yes I do love to go, but it isn’t necessary.  Yesterday was one of those moments.

John and I hiked up to Barclay Lake near Baring Mt. and all day long I kept asking myself when will I feel God’s presence, She seemed to be absent from this walk.  Now mind you we are walking up a mountain trail with vistas everywhere; Dark green trees, babbling brook below, sunshine on the path, and ferns gently blowing, sound idyllic enough for ya’.   When we reached the lake and sat down to watch children enjoying the water and eat our picnic lunch, the sky was so blue, with not a cloud in sight and I kept saying “hey You, are You on this hike with us?”  It wasn’t until we reached home tired, sweaty and dirty that something clicked.  There in front of me was John and Freddie being goofy as John got ready for his shower and suddenly I realized I was looking in the wrong place and waiting for the wrong voice. 

Yes the glories of the mountain and lake were wonderful metaphors of God’s presence but John’s presence throughout the walk was the real gift.  He waited for me as I stopped to look at small flower and ferns.  He didn’t quibble when I simply stopped to take in the view, losing myself in the landscape.  John and Freddie made me laugh as they walked down the path in front of me and offered me a picture of memorable proportions.  

I often tell people when I look into the face of others I see God looking back and here I was seeing that expression right in front of me and I didn’t see it.  Wow, talk about not paying attention!  99.9% of the time God doesn’t make Herself know to me in grand gestures.  She speaks to me in the small everyday things and events in my life, (not that John is a small thing or event) the ones that go by so quickly that if I blink I will miss them.  Opening up my vision, hearing heart to all of those events requires more than spiritual practice, or patience, it requires me to slow down and let Her voice and presence penetrate into my awareness. 

Awareness is a spiritual practice that I frequently ignore because I am ‘just so busy I can’t take the time to be aware.’  What a crock!  Yesterday was so beautiful and there in front of me was God, Ok so He is a little bowlegged and is wearing shorts and a dirty T-shirt but the image of God none the less, and I was so intent on hearing God in the wind or seeing God in a tree that I missed the loving embrace of the Divine.  I admit it, I’m an idiot!  God, I love you in all of your images, trees, mountains, dogs, lakes, but most of all as John who is your presence here on this earth with me.  Thank You!

I and You

I was one with YOU
before I came
              longing to return

Time invisible winds up
like a runner running a race
                unknowing becomes knowing

Knowing yet unknowing
longing to know YOU
      in world
            out world
                longing unsatisfied

Longing for YOU
stop seeking
               sensing YOU

PRESENCE invisible
always here
   embracing relationship
      calls to me
         unknowing becomes knowing

©Ruth Jewell, July 22, 2010

Ramblings: Summer Reading

I just finished reading I and Thou by Martin Buber (translated by Walter Kaufmann, 1970) and I love this book.  I am struck by the realization that 3 years ago I wouldn’t have understood Buber and am forever grateful for the last 3 years of Theology School, and Father Mike, for giving me the tools to open my heart to words that inspire.    But on to my brain dump.

This was not an easy book to read, there are concepts here that I am struggling with but, still, what sticks out for me is the development of relationship as the fundamental basis for our growth as human beings.   And, if I understand Buber correctly,  the I-You world relationship is more than the relationship between I and another Human, or creation, the ultimate YOU is God, Spirit, ruach, Allah, however I identify the Divine.    In fact God is never in the I alone but always in the I-You relationship, and because we are always in that relationship we are always in the PRESENCE.

Wow, Buber has opened a door I’m not sure I can shut.  He defines true community as one that only exists in relation with the PRESENCE, the I-YOU world.  God didn’t create community because the YOU was lonely, God created community because without the I the YOU can not exist.  We are bound with invisible strings to the Divine YOU in all things, like the front and back of a sheet of paper, like light and dark.  Without the YOU the I would not be able to recognize self and without the I the YOU would not be able to be recognized.  I am still processing this, so much of this book makes sense until I start to take it apart, so there will lots more thinking on this book.

In addition to reading Buber I have also been reading John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes, Celtic .  Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong (1999), and it is a nice companion to I and Thou.  Both books emphasize the importance of our relationships and how we long to return to the relationship with YOU.  The longing for the return of that relationship is hardwired into us from the moment of our conception.  We spend our lives trying to bridge the gap between us and YOU and that longing is what drives us to seek more than surface impressions for our lives.  Even those who settle for things, material and physical know in their hearts that such ‘stuff’ is not enough.   Each in their own way Buber and O’Donohue tell us that reaching into the mystery of being is never safe but is the only way to find what the heart longs for.  I have no idea where I’m going with this, just that I’m trying to make some sense of what I’ve read, so you all get to listen to me, lucky you.  It has taken me 63 years to figure this part out, I sure hope it doesn’t take another 63 years to figure out the next part!

©Ruth Jewell, July 22, 2010