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.
And, I saw the sun rise this morning.
©Ruth A Jewell, 10-9-00
I wrote this on Johns and my honeymoon in the British Isles. We were staying at a B&B, in Cumbria, in a very old farmhouse were sheep grazed right under your 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 morning as we were getting up, I noticed 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.
February 7, 2022
I was searching though old blog posts and re-read this one from July 2010. When I did, John’s and my honeymoon popped into my head with total clarity. We had so much fun in England, Wales, and Scotland. But the sweetest memory was this one in Cumbria. I still get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I read what I wrote that morning.
As John’s dementia progresses, he has forgotten much of that trip and only remembers when I bring out the pictures. At some point he will not remember even then and that makes me so sad. I am losing the one person I love more than anyone else and it is hard. I am sometimes afraid of what will come, but memories like these remind me that love doesn’t die, that even at the end love is still there and love will hold me until I move on into the darkness.
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 I will 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 flowers 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 that 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 known 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 my vision, hearing in my heart all those events require more than spiritual practice, or patience, it requires me to slow down and let Her voice and presence penetrate 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 your images, trees, mountains, dogs, lakes, but most of all as John who is your presence here on this earth with me. Thank You!
Ruth Jewell, ©February 7, 2022
Image: from Wallpapers, Sheep in a foggy field, free image.