Some random pictures from the last month…
Fisherman, Bantry Bay
Photos and thoughts by Daniel Owen, Anglican minister and amateur photographer…
I came across this wonderful sculpture on a recent walk around Bantry. Nearby is a plaque which reads:
The Spirit of Love
In remembrance of those who lost their lives in the waters of Bantry Bay.
Peace, kind reader, do not cry
Nor pass not, pass not quickly by
Surely we shall meet again
No more to part, no more to die
Saviour of the mighty sea
Let us find repose in Thee.
(Written by Donal Fitzgerald)
This sculpture expresses the compassion of the people of Bantry and Ireland for men, women and children of all races and creeds who lost their lives in this bay.
The two figures convey love, loss, anguish, forgiveness, peace, reaching, letting go…
Paddy Campbell, 2006
Hmm, two posts now about loss. Sometimes people ask me how I cope with all the loss and pain I come across in visiting homes around the parish. The answer is that I talk about it with God in the place of prayer, I talk about those aspects that are not confidential with my better half and usually in some kind of abstract way it comes out in this blog too…
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57, NLT)
October and the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear.
What do I care?
October and kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on
The words of this beautiful song by U2 (link) have been going around my mind these past few days. The wind is blowing autumn leaves across roads and fields, the air is getting cooler and we await the onset of winter.
But why does Bono say ‘what do I care?’ I’m no expert on U2 lyrics, look to Steve Stockman for that, but as I read the words they speak to me of a God who is constant and unchanging and who is steadfast through time. Our seasons come and go, countries rise and fall in importance, we are born, we live and we die but through it all God goes on and on. Perhaps in seeing and understanding this, Bono develops a sense of the eternal – and maybe the ups and downs of this life only find their true meaning in the context of eternity…
“… blessed are those who trust in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
(Screenshot from the Apple website this morning)
I first learnt about this remarkable man when, after becoming increasingly frustrated with my failing (Windows) computer, I decided it was time to start dreaming about replacing it. I came across ‘an apple event’ online, which was a video stream of Jobs unveiling the new iMac G5 (with built in ‘isight’) in 2005 – I was hooked. Of course that was the point, Jobs was a brilliant salesman, but his task was an easy one because Apple products then and now both looked and worked like a dream. There was a small problem however, the iMac cost just over €1,000, money I did not have. It took another three years before I had enough to buy an Apple computer and of course with all that waiting and anticipation one would naturally assume that the reality would be a let down, but it wasn’t. Even though I could have bought two cheap computers running Windows or Linux for the price of the IMac I am convinced to this day that the purchase was worth it because I have now had nearly four years of trouble free computing!
Few people actually knew Steve Jobs very well, which is why his official biography (to be released later this month) will sell in vast numbers. A popular video of Steve on the internet is where he is addressing the graduates at Stanford University in California (link). In this speech he reveals a little of his philosophy about life, about living each day as if it were your last and lots of other inspiring thoughts, challenges and ideas.
In speaking about the effect of being diagnosed with Cancer he said:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
These are not the words of a stereotypical CEO of one of the largest Corporations in the world, they are the words of someone who has stared death in the face and lived a little longer to tell the tale. Many many people around the world, including myself, are saddened at this mans death, but we are grateful for his life and for what he was able to do and to achieve. I think I am right in saying that Steve was a Buddhist, though the words quoted above remind me of so much that Jesus said during his earthly ministry, about living for each day (Matthew 6:25, 34) and not storing up things in this life (Matthew 6:19,20) and the words of comfort Jesus spoke to his disciples in John 14.
In being reminded by Steve Jobs of my own mortality, I am grateful to him for this far more than for the numerous Apple products that I enjoy using each day. All of us will have to face death one day and few of us will manage to do so with the clarity, dignity and composure of Steve Jobs. Therefore I also have a renewed gratitude that I am and we are not on my /our own in all of this; I am grateful beyond words that in Jesus all of us have someone to look up to who has stared death in the face – and won.
Steve Jobs 1955-2011, may he rest in peace.