On Walking Home after Midnight Christmas Eve Service

Silence
Snowflakes the size of dinner plates drift slowly earthward,
soften squeak of boots on snow,
halo street lights,
whisper “Peace on earth.”
A solitary car ghosts by, not daring to defile the silence.

Our world has no time for silence
for stillness.
We must be busy
productive, engaged, connected.

We rush thither and yon
worry and fret
search for fulfilment
purpose, satisfaction

fill up our day-timers get another app make another appointment book another meeting make a call answer a call send a text Facebook LinkenIn MySpace SnapChat Instagram Google Twitter TikTok

and feel empty.

“How silently, how silently . . .”
“How still we see thee lie . . .”
“Silent night . . .”

I stand still in the darkness
catch snowflakes on my tongue
and let profound contentment mantle me
in the still
peaceful
silence.

#ChristmasEve #Meditation #Contemplation #BeingInTheMoment #MargaretGHanna

Chronos or Kairos?

Einstein was right — Time is elastic!

Some moments or hours seem like an eternity. Or else they zip by, compressed into nanoseconds.

We waste time, make time, take time, kill time, save time, “A stitch in time . . .”

We are obsessed with time. It’s in our pockets and on our wrists. It reigns over our homes and workplaces — grandfather clocks, mantel clocks, wall clocks, digital, analogue, quartz, wind-up, electric, battery-operated. They tic-toc, chime, bong, cuckoo, beep, buzz, and twitter. We have calendars and daytimers and automatic reminders on our computers and smartphones and smart watches. We have become like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland — always late for a very important date.

Or at least we think it’s important.

We have become so obsessed with Chronos — a specific amount of time like an hour — that we have forgotten about Kairos — that things happen when the time is right, when the stars are properly aligned, when conditions are right.

Trees put out their leaves when the temperature is warm enough, the sun high enough and the day long enough, not because their daytimer says, “May 5, 9:00 am, Thou shalt spring forth leaves.”

The seeds we plant each spring poke a scouting leaf above ground and decide either, “Nope, too cold, wait a bit,” or “Yep, let’s go for it!”

Flower buds slowly grow and swell until one beautiful warm sunny day, as we scurry by, they suddenly spring open and we stop in amazement and stare at the most beautiful rose we’ve ever seen, and all that fuss and bother that we were so fussed and bothered about vanishes, and we stop and smell and breathe, and for once we are living in the moment. We are living in Now.

We are living in Kairos.

#Time #Chronos #Kairos #LivingInNow #ObsessedWithTime #Meditation #Contemplation #MargaretGHanna

The Fellowship of Food

I’m on a liquid diet these days (I’ll spare you the details of “why”). Fruit smoothies and soup blended to mush fill the stomach and nourish the body but they fail in one regard – they do not nourish the soul.

I miss texture. I miss the crunch of carrots and snap peas, the chewiness of good bread, the juicy explosion of cherry tomatoes, the annoyance of apple peel between my teeth, the fibrousness of a steak.

I miss the variety of flavours. Blended foods are blended flavours. Nothing stands out. Blueberries, bananas, papaya, kiwi become one. Same with stock and lentils and rice and cabbage and whatever other vegetables I put into the soup.

I miss the variety of colour. Stock soup is always brown; cream soup is always white. Fruit smoothies are some form of pinkish-bluish-white (I’m sure the paint stores have a fancy name for that colour).

What I miss most, though, in this time of COVID is the fellowship that attends food.

Food binds us together as family and community. ‘Breaking bread’ with someone may be a simple gesture, something of seemingly no great consequence, rather like hugging someone, but that act signifies so much:

We are friends.
We hold some values in common.
We have shared history and experience.
We can put our differences behind us for just this moment.
We trust each other.
We belong together.
We are part of something larger than ourselves.

All those young people you see on TV who are flocking to bars and beaches once they’re open? – they not just being “COVIDiots.” They are responding to the deep-seated, primal human drive to be with one another. They are celebrating an essential aspect of what it means to be human – to be part of something larger than themselves, to be part of community. Even as I shake my head, wondering “How can they be so careless! So negligent!” I envy them the joy and comradery they are experiencing.

A cup of coffee drunk alone is only a cup of coffee. Shared with a friend, it is laughter, stories, jokes, memories, and plans.

Just as a blended fruit smoothie is no substitute for the joy of eating each fruit individually, neither is food eaten alone a satisfactory substitute for the sense of belonging and oneness and joy that attends food eaten with friends and family.

Until my circumstances change, I will continue to “make do” with a liquid diet. And, until our circumstances change, we will continue to “make do” with vicarious virtual community.

Let’s hope those circumstances change sooner rather than later.

#Smoothies #LiquidDiet #FoodAsCommunity #SharingFood #FoodAndFamily  #NotesFromIsolationWard #HumansSocialBeings #LivingInCommunity #Contemplation #Meditation #COVID