“It must be the same all over England. People buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.” – Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
In growing accustomed to living alone, I am becoming fascinated with strangers and I stare and stare; in supermarkets, in traffic and in the corridors at work. I try to interpret their posture or their facial expressions and I wonder about there being so many stories out there; some wonderful and some dreadfully sad. I wonder if they, too, look into my shopping basket and wonder about the single curl of smoked sausage, the small piece of blue cheese and the three slabs of dark chocolate …
I’ve become rather a slave to Lindt’s new wasabi infused dark chocolate, discovered at the same time as I found Ms Joyce’s wonderful novel. I’m devouring both shamelessly, with the freedom to do both well into the small hours of the morning without disturbing anybody.
This morning I took the book and a toasted sandwich into my garden, on which the Garden Gods seem to have bestowed a curse. With Betsy rabbit gone and no longer eating all my plants, new shoots were pushing their way up everywhere. My pigeon had finally flown away; her damaged wing healed, and was no longer coating everything in guano. Things were looking up, my roses were budding and my agave florets were sprouting again. And then the most ferocious hailstorm hit and everything was battered.
On the new job front, things are going well – I was terribly stressed at first, but I’ve got my head around the work. I resolved to keep to myself and not make friends, but my resolve was very short-lived and the good nature of my colleagues won the day. Friday was ‘Casual Day’ and we were presented with pirate hats and had a bit of a party, which was tremendous fun.
Another thing I vowed was that I would not entertain in my new life in the little cottage. This vow, too, flew out the window with time and I’ve had a few dinner parties, which went some way to placating the disapproving funk my kitchen had been greeting me with in the mornings.
I’ve even resumed my habit of a weekly cake bake. A friend and I are currently working on a long-term ‘spiritual journey’ and she gave me an assignment to write on my personal perception of a Higher Power. Writing it made me feel so uplifted that I presented her with a heart-shaped cake.
My Higher Power is not embodied in my mind in the form of man or woman. Rather, my own Higher Power is an abstract concept which contains at its core a concrete set of moral values and principles. This set of values in its simplest interpretation sits in my mind as the essence of difference between good and bad. In effect, this Higher Power is – as I conceive it – “the absolutely RIGHT way’, in other words; the counterpart to evil. For want of a better term, I use the words ‘SPIRITUALITY’ ‘PIETY’ HOLINESS’ or – that term with which I feel most comfortable – ‘MERCIFUL GRACE’. For purposes of meditation and prayer in my daily life, I will continue to address myself to this Higher Power as ‘God’.
Have a peaceful week, my friends. I feel the need for another cup of coffee. And something sweet …