Yesterday I had lunch with a Not For Profit working, inspirational woman, who I once did Pro-Bono work for many moons ago, and with whom I have an insta-connection. She is the smartest, brightest, faster thinker in most rooms and quietly kind and powerful, in a non-egotistical way.
We lunched at the Abbotsford Convent. There was only one slice of bread left at the cafe, so we shared it with our simple soup. It seemed fitting to be so humble and sparse in such an atmosphere.
The energy at the convent is contemplative, and the gardens next to the Yarra River with it’s wildlife and ancient trees, disguise that you are only 4 km from the centre of Melbourne.
When I told my mother of the meeting and discussed the convent, she told me her Great-Aunt became an Anglican Nun and joined a closed order in Sydney. The only contact her mother had with her sister was sending her a simple white lace edged handkerchief each Christmas.
My paternal grandmother used to buy her skin cream from the Carmelite Nuns in Melbourne. As a staunch Anti- Catholic, I think this was her olive branch. When I told my Church of England grandmother I would be marrying a Catholic, she asked if we were to married in the vestry, as surely the Reverend would be against the presence of a Catholic at the main altar.
I managed to persuade her that the Reverend didn’t give two farts about the Catholics and was more worried that we would play Mariah Carey in Melbourne’s oldest Anglican Church. There was a strict rule of nothing later than Handel in the music department at St Peter’s Eastern Hill so I walked down the aisle to Handel’s Arrival of the Queen Of Sheba, which set the tone for my marriage.
I like the tradition and ritual of all religions. The scent of incense, present in so many faiths, the candles, the wishes or prayers, the surrender to the flow, the music, the simplicity and pageantry. It all comes from the one place, the source of life and the hope for a better future for those you love.
I don’t know if there is a God and I am not about to argue with you and your beliefs but I do think there is a spark of life inside us, maybe a cell or the like, that reminds us to stop and take notice of the rivers, the trees, the flickering candle, and the shimmer of hope.
As I listened to my luncheon partner discuss the work she does and the women she helps, I thought how perfect a setting we were in to listen to her talk about need and charity, and helping people escape the unimaginable.
Maybe she is the God, and you are the God and we are all our own Gods.
Do good for others, don’t play too much Mariah Carey, remember the classics, share the bread and give whenever you can.