Returned home from Greenbelt to find a CD in my postbox. A collection of songs and poems written by Eolath Magee and kindly sent to me by a friend of his. Thank you so much Heather. It is wonderful.
Being with the baby this year at Greenbelt meant being more selective. So I sought out only those talks that I thought might offer something very important. Because I didn’t have time for anything else.
Ana’s highlights were undoubtedly the (fabulous! Blair and your offsted buddies take note!) creche, the drummers situated near the mainstage and Nizlopi who she absolutely loved. We’d never left her with strangers before and maybe it was high time because she cried to not-be-left at the creche when we had cause to be there just to register or whatever.
So I guess that was also a highlight for me. To see her so happy with other adults and kids and not dependent on me or Ian for that. Even for a couple of hours. To see her rocking out to Nizlopi and joining in with the drummers. She’s a complete person and this is a joy and a relief to behold.
The other thing I will take with me this year was John Bell’s admonition to non-judgementalism during one of (I can’t even recall which) his talks. I had heard some of his stuff about the defeminisation of the church before in other people’s talks but it made me feel glad to hear him saying it in that plain and direct way of his to such a crowd. These things cannot be said enough.
And kudos also to Ikon’s feminist testimony as part of their service. The spectacle of a woman taking the microphone and saying nothing for several seconds was a provocative statement, the worth of which was proven (in my opinion) by the fact that some of the audience thought it was a joke.
So on that theme of non-judgement here’s one of Eolath’s pieces. The website address is www.venturewithin.com
In the Presence of Death
It is tempting, in the presence of death,
To imagine we can know a person;
To summarise their life
Or to make assessments from the
Supposed advantage of surviving them.
But we have no perspective worthy of
The epic of a human life.
Did this man succeed or fail?
By what measure? Love, or fail to love?
Make a so-called contribution?
Go down in history or die forgotten?
Our judgements have no value.
Better that we attempt the impossible task
Of putting ourselves in this man’s shoes
For one minute.
What was his beginning, his legacy in life?
Some seeds begin in stony ground.
Some in rich pasture.
Some young shoots are nourished and tended.
Others survive alone by strength of simple obstinacy.
What were this man’s goals for himself?
Did he meet them or despair of them?
Picture in him, as adult or as child,
One moment of innocent delight;
One smile from a fully open heart,
And know that this is the nearest glimpse we can have
Of this one human struggle to be all that is possible.
Put aside any negative.
Put aside those parts of the curriculum of life
Where we suppose he could have done better.
Before AND after death,
No matter if sometimes hidden in life
We are each whole;
We are each beautiful;
We are each a miracle;
We are each a teacher;
We are each an indispensable part
Of this constantly renewed universe.
From that immortal part of ourselves,
Which is true compassion,
Let us ask for the wisdom to come to know OURSELVES
Through his example, and let us bless this man for his life.