WE’VE certainly had some extremes of weather in our part of the world over the past 12 months — drought
WE’VE certainly had some extremes of weather in our part of the world over the past 12 months — drought with a hosepipe ban, heavy and persistent rain causing flooding for some and, more recently, the snow and ice causing the inevitable disruption because we simply don’t have enough seriously wintry weather to provide appropriate facilities — and each has called forth a good deal of complaint.
In spite of the fact that many people work hard to provide help and relief in all conditions it seems that we are never satisfied with anything that pulls us out of our comfort zone. I hold my hand up and confess that I, too, complain bitterly, especially about the cold, and it can affect my mood terribly.
Now, at this darkest time of the year, we long for the spring and the light, forgetting that it’s good simply to look around us where we are and appreciate the beauty, whatever that may be.
I was reminded of this a couple of days ago when filling up my car with petrol at a garage out of my normal area, head down and muttering about the icy wind. At the sales till I started to complain about the weather but the man behind the till said nothing until I was about to leave when he simply said, “Thank you, see you again, bless you.”
I smiled at the last two words and, as I was wearing my dog collar, felt that I should have blessed him but a remarkable thing had happened in that moment — suddenly my thoughts were positive rather than negative. I no longer noticed the cold but the sun trying to shine through the cloud and all the way home I saw wondrous things and found Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem God’s Grandeur running through my mind:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil crushed. Why do men then now reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; and all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; and wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil is bare now, nor foot can feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent; there lives the dearest freshness deep down things; and though the last lights off the black West went oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs — because the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
I thank my angel of the petrol station for blessing me, for reminding me of the “dearest freshness deep down things” and for stopping my complaining. It is so good to be reminded that God’s presence is with us always and I hope that we all can continue to seek out his grandeur and transformation in our lives whatever the season or our own personal circumstances. Perhaps we need to bless each other openly and more often — we could change the world for the better!