Senan Of Somerset
Senan Of Somerset

The way is shut

I wonder if in 100 years time someone will be watching an episode of the Antiques roadshow and someone produces a dusty box on which can be made out the words…

“Lateral flow test kit”.

“Ah yes, a rare item”, says the resident expert, “this was from the great pandemic of the 21st century. Of course since then the medical advances of this century have made these things a thing of the past. But what a fascinating find. One can only imagine what is was like to live in those times. How did it come into your possession?”

Anyway, my imagination is getting the better of me…

For anyone who’s a fan of “The Lord of the Rings”, the words, “The way is shut!” may bring memories of the scene from “The Return of the King”. The armies of man are facing insurmountable odds against the forces of Mordor, and if that wasn’t bad enough, it is at this very moment, the emerging figurehead of Isildur’s heir, Aragorn, decides to leave with the other heroes. One can sense the building despair of those left behind. A feeling of impending doom as they watch their inspiration disappear into the darkness.

I am about to take a significant step in my life… I am about to retire. (Although I hasten to add I’m not going to stop working!). Someone asked me what are you looking forward to most. I replied straight away, “Watching spring happen”. Simply to go out every day whatever the weather and observe the world of nature coming alive as the days get longer. In many ways it has already begun. I recently put up a couple of nest boxes in the garden and as write this I’m watching a pair of blue tits already checking out this new real estate.

To watch spring happen without the usual commitments is going to be a real treat. I took the above photo as a pre spring reference, to compare and contrast later. However, having seen it now, it does speak of some of the experiences of the last couple of years. There seems to be no way through. Every time the light appears at the end of the tunnel, something else seems to come along and spoil it. However I then turned ninety degrees to the left and took the following photo…

One of the great privileges for the Solitary is to receive a prayer request. Their contents will always remain a secret and can vary from great sadness to great joy. But as a bit of an insomniac, I have learnt to put the ‘little hours’ to good use for these prayers and in my retirement I hope to do more. The silence of the night and the peace of the early hours of the morning are so inspiring, and I can begin to understand why many of the great monastic orders of this world have an office for “The little hours”.

More recently (and I would never divulge specifics), there have been a few messages concerning a new path or a change in direction in someone’s life. In the context of the past two years, this is so exciting and certainly gives a lift.

So… going back to my Lord of The Rings reference; perhaps a return to what was before can no longer be – “The way is shut”. However perhaps I can modify this quote to…

This way is shut”… but not every way.

Whatever your new year holds for you, be it a return to what was before, or a ninety degree turn to a new path, I hope you find light, joy and something to strive for.

God bless your 2022.

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