It’s dark in the corners of our village church and the light sometimes struggles to find its way in especially when the days are hazy as they often are, but when it does, the contrast between the light and the darkness is so striking it can create a moment of introspective illumination … at least for me.

People don’t come here as often as they once did and while I think it very beautiful, I only feel the ghosts of self-recrimination and regret. I’m sure some housekeeping must be necessary to aid in sweeping these feelings away, but I’m not sure where to begin. The instruction manual no longer makes sense to me and the teachers who garner the most attention feel false.

I usually learn best by doing, but sometimes when I am unsure … I wait.

I tend to be fairly private about my questions of faith and thoughts on God. My experience with the Christian community in general tends to makes me think of the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” where there are lots of extremes and a little girl who’s looking for “just right.”

Day Two – Unexpected Gifts Of Spirit

Tower Of London (Lower Right)

Yesterday was a day where I felt contemplative for the most part. The Underground line we needed was overcrowded and Margaret and I made our way on trains that made me feel a bit claustrophobic. After much waiting, we finally arrived at the Tower of London which had a fair amount of people milling around and we split up like we tend to do taking as Margaret put it the other day, “ separate field trips.”

Having been to the Tower before, I went more slowly than I would when exploring a historical space and spent a lot of time thinking about the lives of the people who had lived within its walls as both the keeper and the kept. There is no escaping the burden and responsibility of those who had the power and those who coveted it.

As the afternoon wore on a rainstorm came up suddenly, sending people hurrying for shelter and I went in search of my sister. I was tired of thinking too much anyway … stuck as I was on what memories we leave behind when we die. It is difficult not to think about when all around you are the stories of those whose lives were impacted by their own actions or those of others.

All Hallows By The Tower

All Hallows By The Tower

Walking away from the Tower, we came across a small church of great significance. All Hallows by the Tower has been as they put it a “ A Christian Beacon on Tower Hill since 675 AD. ” If you are ever in London, I would suggest you visit this place where The Saxon Abby of Barking founded the church as their literature states in 675 AD.

Underneath in a crypt there is a small museum complete with tiny cobblestones from a Roman floor and other evidence of city life for almost 2000 years. There is a link to American history as well as details about the almost total destruction it suffered during WWII.

All of its history and artifacts made for interesting reading, but the important part of our visit was found as one usually expects or hopes in its service. Margaret and I happened to arrive as they were getting ready for a something called a Taizé Service which is a short service using prayer, chants and silence. Simple and meditative was just what it was with a perfect mix of scripture readings and music made up only of voices.

All Hallows By The Tower

It was exactly the thing I needed to lift my spirit and an unexpected gift on a day heavy with too much contemplation and dark thoughts. There was biblical reading about, “ all those who seek me “ and the service finished with a simple prayer that ended gently with the words … “ Have the courage to live your life.”

Afterwards when I stepped outside on to a wet London sidewalk and looked up to see the image below, I couldn’t help but remember from the bible stories of childhood about the message from God found in each rainbow. It was an interesting finish for a doubting, but still seeking ” Thomas.”

While I don’t usually ask for gifts and I am generally funny about receiving them, I wonder if I might ask for one from those of you who are reading this today. It doesn’t matter if you come across this after September 10th, I will still see a comment if you leave one for me. If you would … please take a second to tell me your favorite post I’ve written here at Gifts of the Journey or maybe a little something about yourself if you’d rather.

I’ll be back tomorrow with Day One, the final post of the big birthday countdown and I want to say thanks to all of you who have been reading and commenting over the last few days in particular. It makes all the writing mean just a bit more to know it matters to someone other than just me.  xo

Shades Of Grey And In Between



Many things are not as black and white for me as they appear to be for others. Faith, acceptance and unquestioning belief come so easily to some providing a foundation that guides them in all ways. My own thoughts, especially at this time of year when Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, drift back and forth through non-committal shades of grey. I feel as if I am Thomas reborn at times…I know I’m not alone though and this song captures much of what I feel on this day and most days.

The song’s worth hearing…take a listen, when you have a moment.

Doubting Thomas