The Alchemist

I have been sent this great poem – following my last Sunday’s message. It’s superb.
It is called ‘The Alchemist’ and it’s by Patricia St John.

My Master an elixir hath that turns
all base and worthless substances to gold.
From rubble stones he fashions palaces
most beautiful and stately to behold.
He garners with a craftman’s  skilled care
all that we break and weeping cast away.

His eyes see uncut opals in the rock
and shapely vessels in our trampled clay.
The sum of lifes lost opportunities,
the broken friendships and the wasted years.
These are his raw materials;
His hands rest on the fragments,
weld them with his tears.

A patient Alchemist– He bides his time
Broods while the south winds breathe,
the north winds blow,
And weary self at enmity with self,
works out its own destruction, bitter, slow.

Then when our dreams have dwindled into smoke
Our gallant highways petered out in mire,
our airy castles crumbled into dust,
leaving us stripped of all save fierce desire,
He comes, with feet deliberate and slow,

Who counts a contrite heart his sacrifice,
(No other bidders rise to stake their claims,
He only on our ruins sets a price)
And stooping very low engraves with care
His name, indelible on our dust;

And from the ashes of our self despair
Kindles a flame of hope and humble trust,
He seeks no second site on which to build,
But on the old foundation stone by stone,
Cementing sad experience with Grace,
Fashions a stronger temple of his own.

Loneliness and Neediness

How many people feel into this trap, so often?
If it’s within the realm of friendships – there is always another one.
But it becomes so much more tragic within marriages…This is very helpful advice:

‘When we feel lonely we keep looking for a person or persons who can take our loneliness away. Our lonely hearts cry out, “Please hold me, touch me, speak to me, pay attention to me.” But soon we discover that the person we expect to take our loneliness away cannot give us what we ask for. Often that person feels oppressed by our demands and runs away, leaving us in despair. As long as we approach another person from our loneliness, no mature human relationship can develop. Clinging to one another in loneliness is suffocating and eventually becomes destructive. For love to be possible we need the courage to create space between us and to trust that this space allows us to dance together.’    Henri Nouwen