At the end of an up and down kind of a day, with little left in me to say, here is something from Iain in Japan for you to contemplate.
At times often rather trivial things have happened to me that have triggered waves of anger in me the force of which has sent me reeling. That angry little boy inside. “It isn’t fair and it has to be put right!” But of course nothing ever can be restored status quo ante, it just can’t, the thing is broken. That’s what crying is for. Memories of painful things
Back in 2005 I visited the Stupa in Birmingham where the Buddha’s Relics are enshrined. At the time I was somewhat sceptical, are they ‘real’ etc. Yesterday afternoon I joined a trip to Birmingham to visit The Heart Shrine Relics Tour. I’m glad I went.
Carmen Straight, our Custodian on the USA Tour, watched a five year old girl skipping around the relic altar display and peering curiously at the relics. Carmen asked her what she was doing. She replied,
“There are so many beautiful colors shining out from the relics and I am trying to remember them all.”
I’ve learnt how to he a good visitor, of Buddha Relics. Go with no expectations, no plan, let fears, worries and doubts fall by the way side. Be respectful and be still. And sit still, no need to do more unless called upon to do so. Not a bad plan for hospital visiting either, come to think of it.
He said, My brother is good at visiting now. He learnt how from seeing our father regularly after his stroke. At first he’d say, I don’t know what to do, or say. Don’t know if he is taking anything in or even understands me anymore.
I then said, Just sit there quietly if necessary. So my brother learnt how to visit. When he came to see me I was asleep, so he sat quietly in that chair. Then I woke up and we talked.
Hospital visiting: giving of oneself in seriousness, in sadness, in service, in silence, in the moment, in daftness and laughter. This evening I arrived heavy and left lighter. Arrived readied to give and left having shared.
October 16, 1987? I was still in America. Those in England remember the devastation and deaths from the Hurricane that hit these isles unexpectedly in the early hours of the 16th. Not until now have I learned that a small collection of trees on top of the south downs, the Chanctonbury Ring, were mostly blown down. Historic trees knocked out for ever.
But how our memories can play tricks. We’ve been discussing details of the storm of 1987, in particular the Michael Fish gaff. (Google his name if you want to find out about what happened). However some memories have their origin in a later, and more devastating, event. From the Burns Night storm of 1990, which I remember, and survived. This time the weather forecast gave us good warning. All the same I was out driving to Newcastle Airport to pick up a monk flying in from the US. Branches were flying across the road and I remember thinking, This feels dangerous! It was, very.
This evening a chap at the Priory had his cell phone on. He was ‘on call’ for trees, that’s trees blown down over roads which have to be removed what ever the time of day, or night. Thankfully there is not a puff of wind this evening.