Blessing for the Day…

It is the Winter Solstice today

At last.  The shortest day is upon us which means?

From tomorrow onwards the days start to get longer, imperceptively so, but longer all the same!

The birds knew!

This morning while it was still pitch dark, about 540am, I heard a song bird twittering as if the sun was peeping over the horizon.  A brave attempt at solo dawn chorusing, about 3 hours early!

At 8am he was still singing up a storm and the sun hadn’t come out to play… a valiant effort…the clouds hung around all day.

Tonight is the longest night.  We didn’t notice, we had gone to see a film, well, I took a well earned but expensive nap, and by the time we came out it was dark and cold.

This is also called the first day of winter although winter seems to have been with us for weeks, and as I was leaving my flat entranceway I saw a man walking up the hill clumsily dragging his feet.  I looked at the pavement his feet were scuffing and noticed he was wearing large wellington boots which he was having to scoop with each step in order to stop himself from tripping.

“I know exactly how that feels…” I noted mentally remembering my father’s wellies in the garage which I occassionally don to tramp across wet grass; the clomping sound they make is universal conjuring up farmers in their fields or milking barns, ladies in their landies, hikers following their trails.

I noticed his left boot had a split up the back revealing a bare foot…

“Bummer…” I thought.

A shiver ran through me and I unconsciously adjusted my scarf and pulled on my gloves.

I stopped and looked more closely.  He was a homeless man. I followed his awkward progress as I walked down our driveway, he was wearing summer shorts, his coat was threadbare and in one hand he carried a plastic bag.

I was on my way to mass, should I stop and tell him to wait while I rooted out my father’s intact wellies in the garage, or should I carry on to church and offer prayers?

I was reminded of the apostles at the Beautiful Gate telling the cripple to get up and walk, his faith had healed him.

Church and prayer offerings won.  My mind was awash with images.  If I took him to our garage would he curl up in the shelter and fall asleep?  Did I have trousers to give him, a bath?  A coat?

Where did he sleep on these cold midwinter nights?

On returning home I told hubs my story and he said he had seen the same person heading in the same direction yesterday.

We are reminded by those we pray for, the lonely, the unloved the unwanted, who walk our roads, sleep on our churchyard benches and mumble as we pass them lost in their own worlds, that in our lives, no matter how difficult or stressful we have choices, we are warm we are loved, we are appropriately clothed.

This was my blessing for the day.

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