It has been a rather contemplative week this week.
I received the latest and last open letter from Brother Roger, the founder of Taizé who died last year in tragic circumstances. But he was a man who knew what he was about:
“What is this peace that God gives? It is first of all an inner peace, a peace of the heart. This peace enables us to look at the world with hope, even though it is often torn apart by violence and conflicts.”
Yes, he was courageous in that he wanted world peace, but his method was a humble and peaceful one, encouraging people from different denominations to meet at the grass roots, spend time with each other, pray together, so that it may inspire them to utilise this spirit of togetherness in their own lives.
“Seeking reconciliation and peace involves a struggle within oneself. It does not mean taking the line of least resistance. Nothing lasting is created when things are too easy. The spirit of communion is not gullible. It causes the heart to become more encompassing…”
Does it work? Yes, I think it does. It is not the quickest of methods but anyone who has ever come in contact with Taizé would not soon forget it.
Nothing to do with the Winter Olympics. Last year I had one of those calendars with a different quote for every day. Mine was an eastern philosophy one that threw up all sorts of interesting contemplations. I was looking at my pile of favourites for the year (the ones that I didn’t throw away) and this one was at the top:
Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes it obstructs your vision – His-tang
An apt thought that can be applied to all sorts of familiar situations…
Your life is put into perspective when a friend packs up their bags and heads to the back of Sudan as a volunteer a couple of years. That’s what my friend Ruth has just done, volunteering with Catholic missions in Uganda, a short hop away to the Sudanese border. Meeting people who have escaped from Sudan, or really any place of war, is an eye-opening experience. Through my work over the years with JCA I’ve listened to a few people tell their stories – how they lost family members, lived in refugee camps and arrived in Australia with no more than a few garbage bags full of clothes, but they are the lucky ones who got to Australia. What would it be like to be at the frontline as Ruth is? I wait with great anticipation for her future posts.
A grey day, a rainy day, a very English day, the kind I’d like to spend on the couch nursing a pot of Earl Grey tea and a good English classic. Perhaps by Austen or Brontë but more recently I’ve discovered the works of Georgette Heyer.
Yes, she may appear to have written stuff your grandmother reads (your grandmother might well have a few old copies lurking about the place) and the covers of the old prints might give you the impression that it’s in line with the works of such ‘esteemed’ authors as Danielle Steele and Barbara Cartland, but as I’ve discovered that that is very far from the truth! I think she has far more in common with Austen than with those two or with any soppy/bodice-ripping romance author.
Again, the folks at C19 put me on her trail, when a few of them started writing stories in her style and starting off a mammoth thread praising her extensive body of work. She does write mainly about the Regency world, but she certainly wasn’t JA’s contemporary because she died quite recently in the early 1970’s! Her stories apparently very accurately portrayed the period and the best of them are a study of manners that are as substantial as any of JA’s works, but that’s where all resemblences end! Almost all of her stories are set among the upper classes (that you rarely get a glimpse of in Austen), written in a style that’s easy to get into and full of humour! Witness dear Frederica and her lovable little brothers, or the fun-filled banter between Venetia and Damerel. And I doubt that JA would be able to write something like Devil’s Cub, which would make a brilliant Sunday matinée-like adventure – as long as it doesn’t star Leonardo di Caprio.
As I mentioned before, GH was very prolific, writing over 50 books. I’ve bought a dozen of them already so I’ll be spending many an agreeable afternoon lounging. Bring on those rainy days!
Seeing Franz Ferdinand last week has reignited (corny but can’t think of any other word) my passion for music. Saw their first Enmore show and I don’t think I’ve seen a crowd so energetic in a long time, but seeing what gigs I went to last year, it’s not too surprising (don’t think Missy Higgins could rouse a crowd into a frenzy).
Inevitably, this kind of enthusiasm spills over into other (more silly) side projects like:
1. Buying their live DVD and playing it constantly and singing along to their naughty karaoke videos.
2. Playing groupie by turning up to the Sunrise studios (that’s beside my work) at 7.30am to press my face against the glass while they played.
3. Reading their amusing blog about the Darlinghurst ladies of the night, no less.
4. Recording shoddy cover versions of their songs on acoustic guitar (as have no electric).
5. Spending lunchtimes in music shops trying out electric guitars (I will buy one one of these days – contemplating an Angus Young Gibson SG).
My flatmate groans when she hears that infernal Take Me Out riff, but she shouldn’t worry because fads like this shouldn’t last a long time and she’ll know all the lyrics to all the songs by the end of it which I’m sure will please the Year 11 kids she teaches.