Tag Archives: promise

Promises to tomorrow #50 #birth-day

When you arrive at a new threshold of the next year of your life unfolding, one of the traditions is to blow out the candles, to be lit up by what’s past and then to make a wish in that moment of darkness. The birth day is just that – a promise in darkness – coming into light – recurring each year. It is heralded by a long wait, labour pains of another while you arrive through an opening often helped by others supporting your mother. We give this moment a special place in our year, it defines us as a tribe on the zodiac, a season, a destiny. Everyone is a great shout of joy waiting to be born according to David Whyte.

On the eve of birth, an experience I have had more than once, the physicality or being prised open to allow new life to come forth, is pain with breath and blood eventually settling into a rhythm and a quickening that ends whether we welcome the arrival or not. And so on this eve, as my love would have been 60 in the morn, I think of his mother labouring and his arrival being met with a little disappointment that their fourth child was another boy – she had longed for a girl for more than the nine months, in fact years and years. He. Arrived. Already not meeting expectations, wiped away quickly, but the story remained in the family narrative. How many stories do we have hanging on us, even before we have started to make our own, even before our birth-day?

Unfolding into a new year, the old one is not left behind, it oozes in and has already left a fingerprint, forecasts and predictions are enabling decisions, the future is already in the diary. Not all birthdays are welcomed. There are the times with the new year arriving is heralding a beginning or an ending of a time that is not yet over or not yet ready to commence.

On this eve of his birthday, one he can no longer celebrate, one that for others arriving at this junction would be one to celebrate a harvest, welcome in wisdom, drive home the possibility of eldership, he is not. He is not here for his appointment with candles and cake. We will gather and remember his lasting impact that will go long and deep, we will be grateful he was born and gifted us with his essential self. We will hold the space for cake and candles and my promise to tomorrow is to mark birth-days with respect from how they came to be where heaven and earth joined in a woman’s body and appeared in the shape of a child.

He was born in the perfect season for the life he lived, ordained by an Advent birth. Living long enough to embrace the next generation.

To be more child-like is one of the great invitations and birth-days are an annual reminder to enter the new year of our life with the same bewilderment and optimism of those first breaths.


Embracing Tim and Archie on Sunday 15 October  (Tim 17.12.57 – 19.10.17)

Promises to tomorrow 32 #wildtimes

The wind, the hail, the rain, all came falling at once. A tree branch finds its way onto wires. The miracle of electricity comes to a sudden end and with its life threatening potential the night descends into darkness. A torch, a touch, a back up battery, plan B and then plan C are activated and a crisis averted. What wild times we live in where the simplest signs of the first world – energy at the flick of a switch – becomes a holy grail to worship and behold. These are wild times.

Untamed and uncultivated parts of my life are offering themselves up to be ordered, classified and placed in captivity and becalmed. These are wild times and I am not certain they should be or even could be domesticated – it would be unworthy of the sheer size of the phenomena of the storm – the wind, the hail, the rain, all come falling with no regard to what trees or branches might get in the way.

The lads work through the night on ladders and in hi-vis gear find the damage and make repairs in double quick time. I am deeply grateful for their skill and speed. These are wild times.

The wind will not stop blowing, even when it is at its most quiet she still makes a sound, a whisper, a whimper.  The hail melts when it hits the ground, solid ice finding its way from cold clouds producing pellets of pain designed to leave a lasting imprint. The rain, soaking, drenching, pouring itself into gutters until the last drip finds its way into a drain to seep into the aquifer, replenishing a hidden reservoir.

The wind, the hail and the rain make their own promises to tomorrow. They promise to come when not expected, even though the charts predict their arrival. They promise to come to an end and rest before they come again. They promise visceral experience and to be their wild selves and bring down power lines in the dark, on cold nights. They promise to remind you of what it means to live an elemental life, one forged with the seasons and this is the end of winter and the solstice is over.

There are signs of spring under the earth, not yet visible and the last days of this season are not yet over. These are wild times. I am wild and I am in these times. I will work on the power lines in the dark as swiftly as I can to restore energy so we can all last a little longer. One more charge in the power pack providing fuel for the onward journey in the dance of the elements and what it means to live on the frontier of being human. It is not negotiable in the deal, to live and to love, fully, there is a price to paid in tears and suffering.

The day is coming, the nights are here. The fourth horseman is galloping with the wind, the hail and the rain, at his back. A little child is at the gate and holds the only promise to tomorrow worth hanging onto in these wildest of times. The wolf and the lamb lie down together.

There are beginnings, endings and everything in between. I am making a promise to myself and to tomorrow: to be in all of the times, the storms, the black outs and the rainbows, of this season. And another promise, to look lovingly for signs of Aslan on the move.




#1 Promises to Tomorrow: Making a Promise

This year’s blog is all about making promises to the future. This first post is a scene-setter.

What is a promise if not a commitment to pay it forward? It is a declaration of following through on a pledge, making good an intention. A promise is an act of hope, often an act of defiance and a forecast. A promise sits in today with recognition of fulfilment coming in a tomorrow.

When we show signs of promise, the potential is what we celebrate and we look forward to the harvest. Embedded in the promise is the seed and the bloom. The journey for a promise to be realised is often fragile, vulnerable and under threat. There are real dangers, snags and fears lying under the surface of a promise.

Each week I am going to explore a promise to the future – sometimes it will be personal, sometimes planetary and sometimes completely ‘off the wall’. I don’t know what they are yet … but I do promise they will unfold.

Every morning I wake to the twitter and chatter of birdsong – some in captivity and some in the wild. They promise the dawn is coming and a new day is rising from the dark. They sing of successfully making it through the night and chorus a welcome to a new beginning. They are steadfast in their expectation of all that they need will be provided and sourced from their surrounds. They promise the future will be there. The screech of the sulphur crested cockatoo surely started in the Jurassic era in the shape of a pterodactyl – from those earliest of times making a promise to survive and evolve. Birds were all dinosaurs once and birdsong is the foundation of all music that in turn is the foundation of song and words. The promise to tomorrow in the chatter of the morning continues to unfold. The music of their calls finds its way from their bodies to join with the other noises making a soundscape for the day to begin. Without effort they tell go of their song.

To Make a Promise.

Make a place of prayer, no fuss,
just lean into the white brilliance
and say what you needed to say
all along, nothing too much, words
as simple and as yours and as heard
as the bird song above your head
or the river running gently beside you,
let your words join to the world
the way stone nestles on stone
the way the water simply leaves
and goes to the sea,
the way your promise
breathes and belongs
with every other promise
the world has ever made.

Now, leave them to go on,
let your words alone
to carry their own life,
without you, let the promise
go with the river.
Have faith. Walk away.
To make a Promise
From ‘Prayer after Prayer’
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press

Post Script: Our beloved sulphur crested cockatoo, Joe 50+ years in the family died in May 2017