This month we learned of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh. Our hearts reached out to The Queen and, like others around the world, we viewed the funeral and listened to many stories about Prince Philip's life. Often mentioned was how he supported his grandsons at the funeral of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. When the grieving young Prince William and Harry were reluctant to make the long walk in public behind her coffin, The Duke said: "If you walk, I will walk with you", and did.
To walk with another is a huge gift, and one that my father, at 72 and then a widower, made following the death of my brother-in-law. He left Belfast and immigrated to Toronto to support my sister with her two young sons, so she could return to work. Especially now during the pandemic we have seen kindness and support offered in many forms, from delivering groceries, making phone or video calls, listening to another, sending an acknowledgment or thank-you note, and so much more.
Yet, just as important but often downplayed, are the gifts and support we give ourselves - taking time to pause, enjoying being out in Nature and the blossoms of springtime. Listening to our intuition, that inner voice, and acting upon it can produce wondrous results, as mine did last week, due to reading a novel that was lying on my laundry room bookshelf, More Than Words Can Say, by Robert Barclay.
It was about a girl who had inherited her grandmother's cottage and decided to visit for an extended time. It triggered thoughts of a waterfront cottage I had owned on Georgian Bay in Ontario over 40 years ago, and sold when moving to British Columbia. Idly wondering if the owner had kept it, I did a Google search, found his name, and left my contact number. Two days later I had a telephone message from him; yes, he remembered me, and yes, still owned the property, now updated and expanded with a guest cottage. The next 10 days closed a 40-year gap with warm email and photo exchanges; today I have new images in mind, and an invitation to visit.
I share this story to emphasize the value of listening to our inner voice, and the experiences that can unfold if we follow through. When I first saw a description of the cottage in the real estate window of a small town all those years ago it 'spoke' to me, just as the book in the laundry room said 'read me'. Releasing the cottage had been sad, as I had a pet chipmunk named Freddie that enjoyed the sunflower seeds I fed him. But I was to have many new escapades in B.C. that indeed became more than words can say! My new experience of recent days fits perfectly with the title of a book I purchased this week - again, a hunch due to receiving an Easter excerpt from a friend on conversations with my favourite author, the late John O'Donohue - for it had me: Walking on the Pastures of Wonder. (U.K. title)
As we glance back through the stages of our lives, can we see how those times of letting go were in order to step into something new? Attending a breakfast meeting many years ago, the late Art Linkletter said words I still recall, that he never wanted to be what he wanted to be, as there was always something more to learn, to grow into - and that, as a friend said yesterday in her Sunday message, is to be determined!
How was your April? Mine was very rich, as perhaps you gleaned from the above, and I hope yours was too, with more experiences 'to be determined'. As we step into a new month let's be thankful for gifts that unfold, knowing that those we lost still live in our heart, and gift ourselves as we walk with others in supportive ways.
Until next time, please keep safe. I send you a hundred thousand blessings. Namasté.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada