Nicola Coombe writes: My eye caught on something white in the river alongside our boat yesterday. A dead swan, intertwined in an uprooted floating tree. The image sits heavy and stagnant in my body in silence this morning. Its grim stillness and semi-submersion seems to hold a space for the truly terrible suffering in our world news and in the lives of each of us at times – perhaps right now.
Every swan on the Thames is protected in law. I know nothing of how this swan may have died, but I fear it may be the mother with the gammy leg who has just raised, with meticulous attention, two goslings into nearly independent ‘teenagers’. I watched them fly away from her and her mate a few days ago.
And my heart caught on something miraculous this week – not once but twice. With my colleague Annie, when grappling with a decision, and again with our team of new mentors, we had said something like ‘let’s attune for a moment’. As we did so we noticed it was 11.58 – the exact time of our daily OneSpirit attunement.
These experiences of unconsciously being ‘in time’ with our wide circle as we sought inner help brought courage. It felt like such a strong message of ‘you are not alone’ and ‘we are, beyond understanding, working together’. This seems like a strong whisper from the presence of the inner worlds, and an equally strong nudge towards faith in the alive connection between us very physical beings within our OneSpirit community.
The swan seems to constellate sorrow for me right now. And I want you to know how our ministers and students constellate joy. Not powder puff joy. Joy that includes suffering: both our own, and the intense willingness to stand alongside the suffering of others. So much courage being shown, one step at a time, from so many stories that come to my attention.
Can you choose to know, right now, that your being an ordained being, matters deeply? That you chose – simply and profoundly – to live your life through the lens of choosing your sanctity, and that all of your expression has this choice at its root? That’s what we listen into at 11.58 together. That’s what allows us to trust that our presence, and our presence together, matters deeply.
Thank you for all the stories that are more visible this week. To name just a few: an amazing Touchstones ‘master class’ from a minister sharing about more than 1500 funerals; a minister artist found through her RIMA profile on the website and invited to be part of an avant garde art installation at midnight; a minister holding a profound funeral for seemingly un-mixable faith paths; a minister publishing a book about weddings; a group of inspired ministers stepping forward to mentor the approaching first years; 20 pioneering ministers forging deeper community within the Mystery and Mastery ‘third chakra’ weekend; ministers in the world standing alongside refugees, the bereaved, the breastfeeding, the dying, the healing.
And thank you for all the stories that are not visible this week, and that include the courage to find the flicker of faith in the heart, and step out into each day. Some days we step into the world – and some days we can’t make it out of pyjamas. Wherever you are, remember that every minister, and every swan, matters, and that we are more deeply connected than we usually allow ourselves to know.
With love, and see you at 11.58.