“Very occasionally, if you pay really close attention, life doesn’t suck.” Joss Whedon

There are times when our dreams and fantasies shatter around us.  There are times when our image of ourselves and others dissolves as if we have bathed in acid.  Let’s not pretend these times are fun or even pleasant. They aren’t. They suck.

But what do we do when we realise that is what is happening?  That this is where our pain is. Do we throw acid around so that everyone is burned, do we make others bleed with the sharp slivers of our broken dreams?  Unfortunately sometimes we do.  But once we realise that is not the way what next?

We search in the dark for the light.  Not wimpy man-made light but Divine Light to illuminate our path, to warm us, to help us see the larger landscape.  Firstly we see it bouncing around the shards at our feet.  Light glinting and winking at us.

Then we look further afield and see and feel it’s warmth in the beautiful mother memories triggered by a son’s birthday, the shared moment with a daughter filled with jokes and laughter, the giggle and twinkle of a beloved grandchild.

It reveals itself in a mundane conversation with the husband who has held her heart forever, the spring in the step of the treasured friend after she received good news from her doctor.  It teases when a dawn is witnessed and experienced.  It honours in a mother daughter conversation filled with honesty and trust where loss and limitations are acknowledged and tears are shared.

It is in the voices of friends as they casually ask ‘how are you?’ and wait for an answer.  It is in the music playing while you write.  It is in the delight of the dog as you return home.  It is in the sound of your own laughter.

Divine light and love is supple and subtle, it does not shatter like long cherished but rigid illusions.  It will always reveal itself when we focus on any moment of real connection. As Joss Whedon says, when we pay really close attention.

I wrote this poem over 10 years ago after one of those moments of attention with a precious elderly man named Tas.  It seemed appropriate.


He moves slowly

Peeling potatoes and carrots

Such ordinary tasks

Such a wonder!


He speaks of loss

Imprisoned tears released

She treads very gently

His spirit is no place for her footprints.


His eyes twinkle

His lips twitch

He is safe with her

He laughs!


To those who cannot

Hear the sound of sunlight

Or a dancing soul

Her glee is inexplicable.


They shake their big sombre heads

Muttering of all things fiscal

And tell her the world’s treasure

Can be found in a piggy bank.


But she knows

In that shared moment of happiness

In the sound of that man’s laughter

She glimpsed heaven.




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