Encouragement for the Journey 22 July 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

I write this week’s encouragement for the journey aware that in recent months death’s shadow has paid our community more than one visit.

We each respond to death in different ways and it is useless to even compare one response with another. We know as travellers on the human journey that death is a part of life. When a person whom we love dies and we attend their funeral service, all kinds of emotions and thoughts make their presence felt in our awareness. We may also be aware of our mortality and transient nature of our human journey.

You notice I use the words ‘a part of life’, just a part, for we equally know that life is more than grief and suffering and includes laughter, joy and celebration. This is not to discount a person’s death, rather it is to see death as that which is ever present in life, but wait, there is always more. A little ritual I engage in after I have visited a family who are planning a funeral service is to ask myself the question: knowing that I too will die, how, then, will I live? I leave you with these words from John O’Donohue:

For Death

From the moment you were born.

Your death has walked beside you.

Though it seldom shows its face,

You still feel its empty touch

When fear invades your life,

Or what you love is lost

Or inner damage is incurred.


Yet when destiny draws you

Into these spaces of poverty,

And your heart stays generous

Until some door opens into the light,

You are quietly befriending your death;

So that you will have no need to fear

When you time comes to turn and leave.


That the silent presence of your death

Would call your life to attention

Wake you up to how scarce your time is

And to the urgency to become free

And equal to the call of your destiny.


Then you would gather yourself

And decide carefully

How you now can live

The life you would love

To look back on

From your deathbed.


Meanwhile Peace in our dying and in our living – Alf


July 26, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 10 July 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller,

Book Sales are truly incredibly interesting places, and the Northcote Rotary Club’s Annual Book sale this week did not disappoint. I was fortunate to collect a few more treasures for my library.

While holding my new found treasures, I noticed among the many thousands of books for sale, books I had previously culled from my library which I sent to the sale earlier in the week. They where books I had read, or I knew I would never get around to reading, or I had no lost interest in what they contained between the covers, or I had moved in a different direction on my journey and would not find use for them again.

Books are more than just paper and ink; they are the final harvest of the creative process, waiting to feed the soul of one who dares to open its covers.

My special books are like friends whose friendship I treasure and enjoy being with. It is like I am sitting down having a glass of wine or coffee and delighting in a conversation with a friend who I have not seen for some time. We carry on from when we last met and the relationship continues to deepen and grow.

One of the fascinating things about books is that they can be read at the pace of the reader. Sometimes, we think we have to finish a book within a set timeframe. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some books are required to be read leisurely, savouring the very nuances of the words as they feed and satisfy our soul.

Of course when we read a book there beckons an opportunity to not solely be entertained and informed, but transformed, to become more loving, compassionate and mindful of how we live and journey in this wonderful world. I leave you with this quote from Peter of Celle in Essential Monastic Wisdom, by Hugh Feiss:

Reading is the food, light, lamp, refuge, solace of the soul, the spice of all natural flavours. It feeds the hungry, gives light to the one sitting in darkness, offers bread to the one fleeing shipwreck or war, comforts the contrite heart.’

Meanwhile Peace and Joy in Reading




July 18, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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