Why would anyone go for a walk on a field (an empty one at that) in sub-zero temperature? Don’t ask me. I just felt compelled to do so yesterday morning. A lie-in would have been better, I thought. Ah, to snuggle under the covers on Sundays and simply luxuriate in the warmth and comfort of bed! Not this time.
I got up, opened the frozen gate (it was minus 2 degrees C) and wandered aimlessly. Halfway through the field, I did ask, “What’s up, JC?” As I breathed in the cold air, looked at the seagulls hovering above, a pheasant in red, blue, brown and gold coat flew overhead. What a beauty! It’s a shame I didn’t bring my camera. That’s it! A glimpse of colour in what seems to be a very bleak and cold, cold day. “Thank you, Lord,” I whispered and traced my way back.
With my senses fully awake I became aware of the crunch of frost-covered grass under my boots. I bent down and just then the sun came up, streaked through the clouds revealing diamonds everywhere. I was transfixed! My eyes feasted on this spectacle and saw with another pair of eyes the past year in a flash. It has been strewn with diamonds but I was oblivious to them.
So many graces – people, places, experiences, challenges and even failures and problems. All these are diamonds! Gratitude welled up in my heart and at the same time remorse. How many missed opportunities for growth, joy, love! How much time wasted in petty concerns and the ego!
Don’t you sometimes get caught up in work, projects and plans that everything (and everyone) else takes second place? It is easy to get lost and be carried away by the desire to accomplish something even for a noble and good cause. We forget St Paul’s teaching: “He who calls you will do it (keep your whole being, spirit, soul and body faultless) because he is faithful.” Yes, he is the one doing it all along. Why do I act as if everything depended on me?
I’ve never owned a jewel in my entire life. Who cares when there are diamonds everywhere? I only have to stop, look and listen to enjoy them. This is my advent call. What’s yours?
With Basil Hume’s reflection/prayer I wish you a fruitful Advent journey.
Every year at this time
we are asked to escape
from the tumult of our hearts
to put aside our weighty cares
to leave our wearisome toil
to enter for a while
into the inner chamber
of our souls
to God’s Word.
calling us through the mist
of ignorance and apathy
to be silent
to listen to the sound of stillness
and to see
in the Child born of Mary
who became flesh.