‘echos of the uncanny…’

I didn’t know if there was anything like a God. I didn’t care. But it was mostly clear to me we were not just castaways in some tohubohu bearing an ensign of meaning only for those desperate enough to concoct one: I felt mostly certain more was going on than met the eye—despite not having a real clue just what that “more” might entail. My assuredness on these matters owed less to faith than it did to experience, for I’d been hearing echoes of the uncanny since early childhood.


It is that time of the night. The time when this side of the world is quiet in slumber, the time when hearing ‘echoes of the uncanny’ may not be so unusual.

I lay in bed – listening.

It may be the voice of my grandmother or the laughter of my aunt, long since gone before my eyes. I may hear rain tapping on my window or the call of an owl high in the sturdiest branch of a tall pine by the lake.

Tonight I invite these echoes. This is the evening of Thanksgiving, a time of gathering. Today my sister’s house was filled with family, ever-growing. We celebrated my nephew’s wedding this summer and happily the new couple was among us. There were partners and their relatives, parents from different generations, for which we are ever grateful. And for the first time, in more years than I can count, my brother, his wife, and youngest daughter joined us at the table having recently moved from the West Coast back to North Carolina.

Reflecting on this celebration, I begin to reminisce on Thanksgivings from times past. My first year in college, far away, in Colorado, I can hear echoes of laughter from my aunt and uncle’s voice as we sat with my cousins around a huge table in New Mexico. My first year in graduate school, again too far to come home, my apartment was the place to go for all the divinity school “orphans” spending the holiday in Cambridge. I can hear echoes of Boston accents and remember the taste of New England chowder. Over the years this particular holiday has always been filled with new voices and unique stories

The echoes of these voices, and many more, never fade. I consider this group of people travelers on life’s journey. There is no rhyme or reason as to how most of these gatherings occurred. They were opportunities to experience something greater than what can be organized. Doors were opened and one more place at the table was set.

As the quote above describes so well, ‘more is certainly going on than meets the eye’. To be comfortable with this description creates a world filled with curious and blessed moments.

I lie in bed listening for echoes that stir a grateful heart.


Quote: Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Quote: Elegies: A Novel (Little, Brown and Company, September 15, 2020)
Photo: David Kanigan

Keep watch

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary,
bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted,
shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

 

May we be aware of all who journey through these nights working, watching and weeping. For the caregivers, the doctors, the nurses and the chaplains who stand by the bed of those who are struggling to live – breath by breath. For the loved ones, the parents, the children, the neighbors and the prayerful who must stand outside the doorway – concerned and scared.

May we offer our strength and hope to these people who rise to their sentinel call as the sun sets. From the top of a lighthouse to the rail of a bridge, these are the people who focus in the dark to comfort and protect those suffering and weary.

May we pray for the arrival of relief. Relief in the form of healing, in the joy of reunions and in the return of peace and comfort around home’s hearth.  


Prayer found in Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
Photo: Wendy Claire Barrie

A twilight prayer

FOR PEACE

As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease.

We pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.

For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.

That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.

That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.

That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.

That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares

And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain.

 


©JOHN O’DONOHUE

From his book, Benedictus
Ordering Info: https://johnodonohue.com/store

Photo by Bowen Chin on Unsplash

The moon does not fight

The moon does not fight.
It attacks no one.
It does not worry.
It does not try to crush others.
It keeps to its course,
but by its very nature, it gently influences.

 


Quote: Deng Ming-Dao 

Firelight Praise

a song for when you are lighting night’s candle

Light of the world, of endless blessing, sun of our night, lamp of our days; Light of the world, of endless blessing, we raise our hearts in thanks and praise.

Evening lamps are lit, firelight all around. Evening lamps are lit, praise the only sound.


By: Ana Hernández

Produced @carriesbench.org

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