For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die … a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together … (Ecclesiastes 3:1-5)
One of my favourite places to go for some alone time, to contemplate, to reflect, to sit and think, or sometimes just to sit, is Childers Cove. It is part of the Bay of Islands State Park, but being to the west of where the Great Ocean Road joins the Princes Highway it is not often visited, good for solitude.
This day, as I sat on the rocks and watched the waves, I was thinking of my friend Jonathan, who died in 2020 at the height of COVID lockdowns. The grief still overtakes me sometimes. I can only imagine the grief of losing my wife or my children to be worse. He was one of my best friends. I loved him.
And so, this day, feeling the need to do something, I built a cairn. A simple pile of rocks. The ancient Hebrews would mark a significant place with a stone. And Jewish people, to this day, leave a stone, rather than flowers, when they visit a grave site.
A pile of stones, and yet still a transient thing, perhaps like my grief.
In Jonathan’s last days he would talk of being ‘ready to embrace the mystery.’ A mystery far more expansive than I can possibly conceive. The words of Dame Julian, anchorite of Norwich, came to me. ‘All will be well. All manner of things will be well.’ Ω
What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together daily stories and images from people in the congregation which are focused on God in this place. Why this theme? Read this! #Lent2023. Our Spiritual Geography © Sanctuary, 2023. Sanctuary is based on Peek Whurrong country. Full acknowledgement of country here.
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