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The Gate of the Year at Garrique

This week's blog post has been written by Head of Listening Service, Dr Nicola James.

photograph of a garden gate, overlooking hills

These pictures of the same gate were taken at our temporary home between December and January this year – over ‘the gate of this year’ in fact.   When making space on my mobile I realised I had unwittingly not only recorded these days, but formed a collection of the several ways of viewing this liminal time, a triptych if you like of episodic memory and of the possibilities according to where we find ourselves in that moment. 

This poem, part of which was first heard when I attended a Quaker meeting for worship as an adult, returned to me. It was written by Minnie Louise Haskins, a Congregationalist, who taught at the London School of Economics.  One of nine children and a diminutive woman, she worked for a Wesleyan Women’s Charity in India at one time and was a prolific writer of academic papers, novels and poetry.

The language is perhaps old fashioned, but the Spirit of the letter remains and is helpful to us in what is after all still this New Year. I wish you well, however you traverse it.

 

THE GATE OF THE YEAR

(Originally entitled ‘God Knows')

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

a photograph of a garden gate in the snow

So heart be still: What need our little life Our human life to know, If God hath comprehension? In all the dizzy strife Of things both high and low, God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will Is best. The stretch of years Which wind ahead, so dim To our imperfect vision, Are clear to God. Our fears Are premature; In Him, All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until God moves to lift the veil From our impatient eyes, When, as the sweeter features Of Life’s stern face we hail, Fair beyond all surmise God’s thought around His creatures Our mind shall fill.[3]   

 

Minnie Louise Haskins 1908

 

 

 

 

photograph of a garden gate at night, with the moon behind clouds in the background