Full of Emptiness

empty shelves in KSThis is how the bookshelves were on Saturday, in the house I was ‘sitting’ since Iain Robinson’s death in 2011. Iain well remembered.

Yes, the house felt empty on Saturday when I opened the front door to pick up my remaining belongings. Empty yet oddly….full! Not of any persons, or memory, or sadness, regret, happiness. All potentially there however the utter sense of stillness eclipsed anything and everything. I’d wondered how it would be to come back after 15 months to a house I’d lived in. I’d shared with visitors, helped fill with Iain’s possessions in 2009 and then gradually helped empty it of them. Of books and SO much more of those things he treasured. His wife hardly had the opportunity to accumulate before the sudden death. Heart breaking for her.

People said after he died we, Iain and I, were close and I’d say, Well not particularly. Yes, he was always there via email to advise on matters to do with written English and sundry other things especially to do with the house or his car, which I had the use of. And he consulted me, or talked through, personal and spiritual matters on the telephone or in person when he was back from Japan. I was his religious mentor, a student/teacher arrangement. Close but not close close. The teaching relationship between us prevailed. Though I’d be hard-pressed to describe it.  Ones humanity is not excluded.

I knew it and from time to time it was obvious and on entering the house and walking about collecting things confirmed it. Anything personal which one would describe as ‘being close’ was eclipsed by…..stillness. One could call that emptiness or better, a full-emptiness. What I know of is the gift we give to our fellows,   which most often gets lost in the wash! Lost sight of that is,  in the cut and thrust of daily living with it’s warmer and cooler moments. But pausing for a moment, as I did on Saturday, the truth of the gift is confirmed. But nothing to get excited about though. No sadness at losing something nor joy either. Full-emptiness does the job, an expression my teacher frequently used.

Then I walked up to the Nine Standard Rigg, and on the way down the sun picked up Cross Fell. Although my monastic friend might tell me otherwise….! Put me right Reverend.

Looking towards Cross Fell.
Looking towards Cross Fell.

This post is for all those who are or who have lived through the pain and suffering that comes with loss. It fades.

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6 thoughts on “Full of Emptiness”

  1. Hi from Canada,

    Beautiful. I understand your ‘full emptiness’ insight and it is well put and timely for me. I have come to a point where I have been selling books and giving them away and keeping only those which I may use as reference tools, and some that I keep because of their poetry or intrinsic beauty and sentimental meaning. When I look at the picture of the empty bookshelves, it says to me more than a thousand words could say. Your post comes for me at a very timely time, to coin a bad phrase, but there it is…

    It sounds like you are well and enjoying life in your native land. Today, we in Canada select a new national government and with it, a new Prime Minister. I mention this only in passing because it will mean a lot for this large, little country to make a change for the better. Anyhow, I truly valued your post as I am selling my little condo in Victoria and aim to find a little place in the country to place my remaining books and complete a lot of unfinished stories that sit waiting for my ‘return.’ I find it odd that it takes me so long to figure out that I don’t belong in certain places, but that’s life in the best sense. Be well. All the best, Gerry.

    1. Bless you Gerry. My brief meeting with you in Victoria left a lasting impression. Seeing your comment here is uplifting since I know you are following your instincts which you have been following all your life if I am correct. Never mind that it takes some time to know what ones ‘guts’ are speak of. And then to act sometimes takes a bit more time. Is anything lost in the waiting?

      Your support of my writing, which is well informed I know, means the world to me. Let’s meet again. Somewhere in the country then, and this year hopefully. Hang on ’till then at least.

    1. You are AMAZING Reverend. Thank you. Comes to something when you know the actual puddle! Have a good walk in the rain today. I’ve no doubt you will be out in it. As will I. A day in London needs an antidote of a day out in the countryside.

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