Monday, September 22, 2008
Never and always
Once again, I will start off with TS Eliot;
"Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always."
I have left my heart in a small village and there it will remain. I sit here, on this September day, with the leaves beginning to turn and a chill slipping into the air and I remember this time last year. I was in Little Gidding and I was at peace. Why God lead me to that place I don't know, but I do know that there I found friends, dear people who opened heart and home and welcomed me.
I found a little place in the world where I belonged, if only for a season.
My life at Little Gidding was full of new experience; going to a Harvest dinner in the village, standing outside St. John's chapel at dusk reading prayers, helping to rescue a sheep that got its head stuck in the fence, shopping in Ouandle on market day, and oh so many other things. I became a part of the rhythm of life, the rising and cleaning, the cooking and baking, the greeting and meeting of those passing through. I drank tea by the gallons and found I was very fond of both 'sticky toffee pudding' and bakewell tarts. I thought, for that brief and wonderful time, that I could live there, that I could spend my days making soups and serving teas, listening to the stories of those who came to stay, and best of all sitting in the chapel listening to God's voice rustle through the trees. But I was wrong. A door has closed and the wonder that was this small place "England and nowhere" is now fading away.
There was so much I wanted to do there. I was planning on planting herbs in pots, rearranging the entry way, becoming part of the poetry nights and TS Eliot society. I envisioned my husband and I making the place a warm and welcoming retreat for those in need of spiritual rest.
I understood Ferrar House at Little Gidding. I understood what Judith and Tony had put into it and what they loved about it. I knew why it was important that whoever took over understood it too. This was an unusual place, a place of drenched in the spirit of God, a holy place. It has had its fair share of problems, but it also touches people when then come. The lush green of the fields, the quiet, the peaceful chapel with a deep history. This is a place visited by many looking for the holiness and hospitality of God. I understood Ferrar House and I truly understand TS Eliot's poem Little Gidding. It speaks to me on such a deep level now, it is alive in place and time, and in the timelessness of God.
I will always have my memories of Ferrar House; the chapel through the kitchen window, the sunlight across the fields, Judith in the front office, Tony feeding the birds, the bustle of the kitchen, the sound of the wind in the elms. It will be in my heart and my heart will be there even if I cannot.