A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle
Many years ago one of my pilot buddies was stationed with the military in England. As was often the case, he chose to live on the local economy, and found a room he could rent from a dear old widow who was glad to have a brawny lad around the house.
He happily did odd jobs for her, and in due course noticed that her front step, a single slab of stone, was deeply worn from having been trod upon for who knows how many years.
So one day he took it upon himself to dig it up and turn it over, hoping to present his landlady with a nice smooth surface for her front step.
Only to find when he flipped it that it had already been turned!
I thought of that story last weekend as I was taken to a different place by the Colorado Children’s Chorale. They were singing the Samuel Lancaster setting of John Holmes’ “The People’s Peace.” The line that fired my imagination: “Days into years, the doorways worn at sill…”
How many soles of how many shoes had swept the granite of that stoop at my friend’s lodging? What tidings had they brought? Babes-in-arms carried across; becoming toddlers, adolescents, young adults wearing at the stone of their own accord. Then old. Then children.
“Summer gives way to fall, but winter always gives way to spring, which must then become summer again. The sun passes from east to west each and every day; each and every night, it passes from west to east again while we sleep.”*
Until the tread is worn to the point that it must be turned. And turned again.
And now, in this bleak mid-winter, in the bitterness of cold, as those long gone are remembered and missed, we wonder. In the ultimate futility of living… where is peace?
Holmes and Lancaster and the Children’s Chorale would offer that we might look here:
“Peace is the mind’s old wilderness cut down-
A wider nation than the founders dreamed.
Peace is the main street in a country town;
Our children named; our parents’ lives redeemed.
Not scholar’s calm, nor gift of church or state,
Nor everlasting date of death’s release;
But careless noon, the houses lighted late,
Harvest and holiday: the people’s peace.
The peace not past our understanding falls
Like light upon the soft white tablecloth
At winter supper warm between four walls,
A thing too simple to be tried as truth.
Days into years, the doorways worn at sill,
Years into lives, the plans for long increase
Come true at last for those of God’s good will:
These are the things we mean by saying, Peace.”
And so, in this bleak mid-winter, in the bitterness of cold, as those long gone are remembered and missed, we wonder. Where is peace?
It is in the clearing of the mind’s wilderness; the stroll along main street; the naming of the children. It is in the warmth of summer noon gone by and yet to come. The harvest brought in. The table set, the lamps lit, the guests arrived for dinner. The unremarkable yet profound rising and setting of the sun. The turning of the stone. The things we mean by saying, Peace.
This sparkling winter, then, with best wishes for you heartfelt, I say it.
Will you say it too?
Thanks for reading!
The Symphony of Your Life
*The Symphony of Your Life: Restoring Harmony When Your World Is Out of Tune, page 7