So, no apron or whirling arms.  Definitely no tuneful song, but perhaps an Alpine like backdrop or two. In the spirit of Gerard Hughes’ excellent title (and book) God of Surprises here are some things that have arrived at my door unannounced, bringing some lightness amidst the calamity and awful fatalities.  Some things too of spiritual consolation eventually turned to after months of unheeded soft whisperings:

A film: Free Solo, the without ropes climb of El Capitan in Yosemite by Alex Honnold.  My son Cameron has been barking on about this for ages.  Maybe I should take those ear buds out. My hands were sweating as I watched this. A blend of real danger, astonishing skill, relational intensity and stunning filming. It won an award at the Oscars, and rightly so.

A set of photographs:  the stills portfolio of Renan Ozturk. Gosh!

A local walk: Rediscovering the Meadows, repeatedly. Slow meditative meandering amidst the joyful scene of a field of community presences.

A zoom call with mates:  Five of us have sporadically met up for meals, one cooks for all, for the past 3 years or so.  I am still to host, pity them when I do! What’s going on?  What are you reading?  What’s in your heart? Listening to these guys’ honest musings is a joy.

A book:  Time to read in the evenings. Revisiting old friends and getting acquainted with some new ones: Poachers’ Pilgrimmage: An island journey by Alastair McIntosh, A sunlit absence by Martin Laird and the elegant and crackling Golden Age mystery novels of Josephine Tey and Carter Dickson.

A scripture:

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
they flow between the hills…
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart. (Psalm 104)

What has God given to you during this lockdown, to gladden, awaken or comfort your heart?