Hello Friend – Rev. Master Alexander Remembered

Around 2000 in Telford in celebratory attire. Possibly his Induction Ceremony

The first thing I remember Rev. Master Jiyu saying to me was ‘Hello Friend’! It was an open and expansive greeting to a total stranger, as I was at the time. That first personal, and fleeting encounter left a deep impression. Rev. Alexander was such a one, a true friend to many who has touched countless lives. Rev. Berwyn has written a piece titled Rev. Master Alexander – learning from a friend. You can download it as a .pdf here:

There is a blog post with the date and details of Rev. Alexanders upcoming funeral on November 25th which will be live-streamed. Click here for the post.

Islands of Hope

church-in-the-forestCliff sent me a link to a Guardian article that captured my imagination. These small forested islands dotted in the farmed landscape in Ethiopia, each one encircling a church, show what faith and dedication can achieve. Islands of hope.

South of the Sahara, and just north of the Great Rift Valley in landlocked Ethiopia, the Blue Nile flows from Lake Tana, the largest lake in the country. Radiating out from the sacred source is a scattering of forest islands, strewn across the dry highlands like a handful of emeralds. At the heart of each circle of forest, hunkered down under the ancient canopy and wrapped in lush vegetation, are saucer-shaped churches – otherworldly structures that almost seem to emit a life force. And in a sense they do.

….Over the past century, 90% of Ethiopia’s forests have been lost. In Amhara province, the only remaining native forests are those that surround the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church buildings. More:

Rev. Alexander has Died

As you may guess my last post, a poem was my reflection on visiting Rev. Alexander a few days before he died. There is a post on Throssel blog which speaks of Rev. Alexander. The post is open for comments and they are accumulating, you are welcome to add yours should you have been fortunate enough to have known him.

So many memories flood in when somebody one has known well over a number of years, dies. So it is for me with the Reverend Alexander. There is a photograph of him sitting in the sunshine here in the garden Throssel, he had been reading aloud from Bill Bryson’s book Notes from a Small Island. His head is thrown back, he is laughing so hard he is choking and gasping for air and I remember exclaiming ‘please don’t die now‘! I’ll publish that photograph when I can find it. In the mean time – happy memories.

Death Bed

Always the blue sky, always the clouds. Together.

at a bedside
holding hands
holding head

No way
to know
deaths approach

This morning
painful feet (mine)
AND clear blue sky (ours)
is that what it’s like?
We do ‘know’.

And yet we don’t know and that’s most likely a good thing. Facing life, so too with facing death, at heart baffling the everyday mind.  And, at the same time – the ever-present clear blue sky.

Added after initial publication of this post: I have been dipping in and out of this book: With The End in Mind How to live and die well by Kathryn Mannix a Palliative Care doctor in the UK.

Just Sayin’

The language
of the heart

Can’t set us

I spoke those lines at a ceremony the other week and somebody said, ‘where did you get that from’? I replied, ‘I thought it up all by myself’! Amazing what can just ‘come up’ isn’t it.