Ah Blackpool! Ah The Winter Gardens, the Pleasure Beach, the lights, the tower. My abiding memory is of losing a small boy at the Pleasure Beach. One out of eleven wasn’t so bad, but it was one too many all the same!
No lost child while on a business trip yesterday. Thankfully. Somehow with Blackpool one has to suspend all good sense and taste and simply ‘be there’ with all the glitz and fun-o-the-fair energy washing around one. Perhaps that is the charm of seaside towns, to loose oneself for a bit and enjoy the seagulls, Victorian splendor, pink candy floss and ice cream. The sun shone from a clear blue sky and The Winter Gardens were splendid. But it was the Tower Ballroom, hostess to glitzy Come Dancing, I’d really liked to have seen. Just once.
Blackpool was the favoured seaside resort for Lancashire Wakes Week. A time when mills were closed down for maintenance and the workers had a weeks unpaid holiday. Workers from Blackburn or Oldham or Stockport, living it up for a week in sunny Blackpool.
There is a merry, happy time,
To grace withal this simple ryhme:
There is jovial, joyous hour,
Of mirth and jollity in store:
The Wakes! The Wakes!
The jocund wakes!
My wandering memory now forsakes
The present busy scene of things,
Erratic upon Fancy’s wings,
For olden times, with garlands crown’d
And rush-carts green on many a mound.
In hamlets bearing a great name,
The first in astronomic fame.
— From The Village Festival by Droylsden poet Elijah Ridings.
There is nothing like the seaside and some sunshine.
When somebody is no more, whose life has gone out of them, we, who shared in that life – mourn. On all levels there is personal loss and great sadness. And so we gather together to remember what has been. We recall what the newly dead did in their lives. We remember the person that animated that life. We remember their actions – their traits – their strengths. And we pepper our thoughts with memories of their weaknesses too. And we can laugh, a little.
And – inevitably – there are silent regrets, small resentments, things said and things not said. Perhaps we remember deeds not done or – deeds unwise. How are we to find peace enough with our memories – happy ones and less happy ones? How are we to let go and move on?
At times such as this we must draw on our inner resources, be they informed by a faith tradition or not. It is said that all beings have an intuitive sense of a spiritual depth to our being. I term this the ground of our being – or our enlightened nature. Our default if you like! As fundamental to existence as the air we breath.
I’ll have a go at describing that ground, our nature as enlightened beings. The watchword is Compassion. Compassionate acceptance. And falling like rain, unconditional love. Compassion and love coalesce in wise discernment informing our actions. Compassion, Love and Wisdom. We have resources to hand. Let us put them to use for Iain’s sake, and for our own too. This is how we can help him now. Through loving acceptance of his sudden passing.
People came from far and wide to say their goodbye’s. Today at the crematorium, in Lancaster. We saw the coffin off. Later all that will remain will be ashes.
And even better! Here are the two monks singing the Dedication of Merit at the close of the conference.
This is one of my favorite invocations. Sing along why not. Found on the Shasta Abbey website. Well done Rev. H – you have missed nothing out!
Another full day which included a two hour nap starting around 11.00 am! The mind and body can only take so much of this intense planning and organizing. This morning we mailed a parcel of clothes to the Funeral Home for Iain to be dressed in. Details, details, so many details to be taken care of.
I know very many of Iain’s friends and and on-line acquaintances are offering their best wishes and thoughts to his wife and family, and me. I mentioned to Iain when we last spoke on the telephone that spiritual merit was being sent and he said he knew that. Yes, he did know that. Deeply.
What on earth am I going to do without him watching over my posts and sending me emails when I made spelling blunders. Or worse, my language use slipped beyond his tolerance level. He loved language, among other things.
Hi to all of you who have left comments. This evening I went back through my posts to those made in early June and answered comments. That’s my writing done for tonight. It has been a busy day, and a good one with summer in full leaf and flower.