The twilight turns from amethyst
To deep and deeper blue,
The lamp fills with a pale green glow
The trees of the avenue.
The old piano plays an air,
Sedate and slow and gay;
She bends upon the yellow keys,
Her head inclines this way.
Shy thought and grave wide eyes and hands
That wander as they list — –
The twilight turns to darker blue
With lights of amethyst.
Today is Blue Christmas, the feast day for all those who do not feel able to, or cannot, feast. In this year when all peoples of the world have had to alter their daily ways of being, there has been so much loss and grief, so much debt and unemployment, so much isolation and depression, so much abuse, so many whose wounds have not been tended. Today is the feast day for me to remember them; to join with them in my largely house-bound, bed-bound, depression-bound state; to pray with and for them as much as myself.
Joy is so hard to find when I mistake it for happiness. But as I watch the fading light on this the shortest, darkest day of my year, I continue to choose joy as a way of being. And the easiest way to re-orientate myself to joy is to pause, then name the things for which I am deeply grateful. Joy comes when I count my blessings, because there are so many, an abundance of signs of care, signs of God-with-me in this, here and now.
As I watch the fading light, sitting still in the light that is not yet dark and the dark that has not yet let go of light, I feel I am in a hinterland, in a ’thin place’. This is a place of silence before the Almighty, where I am invited to allow the Spirit to breath through me more freely. In this in-between place of grief and gratitude, of poverty and praise, I pray Macrina Wiederkehr’s ‘twilight’ prayer from her Litany of the Hours:
Make of me a twilight: wake of colour, trail of glory. In the evening of life transform me into a song of gratitude. I want to be an evening star for those who have lost their way. I want to be beauty at the end of each day. On my pilgrimage through the day, write mystery stories with my life. Out of my faithful attendance to the hours pour forth the incense of your praise.
- Transform me into a song of gratitude.
(Seven Sacred Pauses (177-179))
On this threshold of becoming, immersed in the colours of the day turning to night, I listen to Martyn Joseph sing ‘Turn me Tender’: https://youtu.be/zJiB5GGZaU0.
It’s happened again, the colourless sky
Has dimmed me again and I’ve run out of why
Hank Williams is grieving, I’m scanning the Psalms
When Jesus was here they stilletoed his palms
And the pledge and the vow is ‘you find if you seek’
But what if you try and find nothing but bleak
So turn me tender again
Fold me into you
Turn me tender again
And mould me to new
Faith lost its promise
Turn me tender again
Through union with you
Let me lay with you now like that very first time
I’ve had rooms full of dollars but I’m down to a dime
Though there’s wonder and awe in the mane of a lion
There’s nowhere to go and I’m chapters from Zion
Yet you’re still my cryptic and cherishing prayer
With serenity kisses that soothe and repair
And laments have a purpose and laments have a cost
A requiem playing gathers the lost
It sometimes tastes sour, the sweetness of hope
When the blizzards are raging on this lover’s slope
Yet I don’t want to freeze inside or out
For it’s you that dissolves the cold walls of doubt
‘Turn Me Tender’
Music and Lyrics: Martyn Joseph / Stewart Henderson
dimmed hope. iPhone image.