On Sunday this week we were thinking about maintaining a good life/work balance. I was looking after my 15 month-old son and he was absolutely determined to get out of the church and into the sunshine so I couldn’t stay and listen to the sermon, but what I did hear was enough. The preacher shared this poem by R. S. Thomas:
The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
I’m not that great at understanding poems, but this one made me stop and consider. So often nowadays when I seem to spend all of my time helping my son walk up and down steps or watch him pick up stones, I find myself getting bored and frustrated. But actually, I should always be on the lookout for the ‘Pearl of great price’ – that ray of sunshine that is kissing my day.
In Matthew 13 Jesus tells these short parables:
44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
I guess I can’t sell everything I have when I spot these moments, but what I can do is temporarily put it down and fully be present. That look of complete enjoyment on my son’s face, the beautiful taste of one of my own freshly picked strawberries, the moment of speed and freedom going downhill on my bike.
Engage. Live. Enjoy. Savour.