Thoughts on Palm Sunday , or how I didn’t become a chaplain.

http://www.gardendesign.com/ideas/art-botany-les-fleurs-animes  The Pansy from J J Grandeville's The Flowers Personified 1847

The Pansy  from J J Grandville’s The Flowers Personified 1847

In my mid-forties, when I was brimming with confidence, and, yes, hubris, I contemplated a career as a chaplain; specifically a workplace/industrial chaplain. With this aim in my mind, I enrolled in a few courses to learn some basic counseling and communication skills.

The outcome of one such course, Basic Preaching Skills, was the opportunity to deliver a Reflection at our church at our first Palm Sunday service of the 21st Century.  I was very touched by the love and support of the congregation for my endeavours, but I am thankful that, later on,  the employers of chaplains were less supportive, and sensibly turned me away.

With Palm Sunday, tomorrow, I have been remembering my brief stand at the pulpit, so many years ago,  and thinking how my faith has changed. In my  own Palm Sunday terms, I suspect I have fallen off the untamed colt/donkey.

Here’s an extract from my Reflection, which, as some of you may surmise, is based on a poor understanding of theology and an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Bible.  The Reflection is titled Wild Rides.

“From babyhood in Bethlehem, onward to manhood in Jerusalem, God has given his people a leader, a healer, a companion in humanity, doubt and faith. This man has gathered, ON THE WAY, fame, friends and followers, and the requisite enemies, too. He is Jesus in the tradition of Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David, Elijah… he’s the Son of Man who could be King. But on Palm Sunday, there is a pause, a change of pace, between the restoration of Bartimaeus’ sight and the whirlwind that follows the triumphal entry to Jerusalem; …….  Jesus, the man of humility, outspoken critic of pomp and ceremony, pauses, lifts his feet off the ground, and takes a ride. He IS the WAY.

In Mark’s description of Palm Sunday, we see a Jesus who momentarily stops directing and healing and preaching, who allows himself to be; to be adulated, to be carried forward, to be King. This creates a challenge….but the challenge is not so much to the owner of the colt, or to the Roman and religious authorities. It’s a challenge to us.

The challenge, I believe, is to be; to be like Jesus and accept God’s gracious offer of a ride into a faith that will move mountains. God loves us for the faith of our comfort zone, a faith that is scheduled and timetabled, that will take us through the week, through 40 days, or 40 years, if necessary; but on Palm Sunday we see God offering a deeper faith of infinite implications and dimensions, and unbounded journeys.

Jesus is the Way. Through him, through Palm Sunday, we know we can accept God’s offer of a faith that moves mountains. God doesn’t offer crowd control, or silent, unchurned stomachs, or freedom from screaming. But, if we accept what, undoubtedly, will be the wildest ride of our lives, God’s underpinning hand of steadfast love will not let us fall. …….”

Hmmm….well, as I said, I do seem to have come unseated from my ride in recent years  but I haven’t been trampled, yet. Which means that, despite my doubts,  I still find great comfort in prayers offered by friends, by our Minister, and members of our church. And, in various past crises related to hospitalization, I have valued, beyond measure, the support and calm guidance/prayer of hospital chaplains.

And I  value beyond measure all the loving thoughts and good wishes that have come my way in response to my previous post.  I am happy to report I am starting to feel almost as perky as these beautiful pansies, given to me on my birthday. 🙂 ( I am also happy my path led to blogging not chaplaincy, even though I have the utmost admiration for chaplains and the wonderful work they do . 😉 )

Palm Sunday thoughts in the company of birthday pansies.

Palm Sunday thoughts in the company of birthday pansies.

© silkannthreades

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139 thoughts on “Thoughts on Palm Sunday , or how I didn’t become a chaplain.

  1. aleafinspringtime

    What comfort it was for me to read this post. I think you would have made a good chaplain too 🙂 I especially loved the part where are being called to a faith that moves mountains, the faith of our comfort zones and the faith of unbounded journeys. I am learning to enlarge my heart to contain all these and more. Hugs. Sharon

    Reply
  2. Mrs. P

    I’m glad your spirits are lifting. Rick has a very simplified way of dealing with the rough times in life, after the initial emotion has reared it’s ugly head…reminding himself, “and this to shall pass”. It helps to steel oneself through the turbulence and focus on the future. And inevitable…time and space enter in and song birds can be hear again…the warmth of the sun shining down on ones skin can be felt…or is this all just because Spring is here again, bringing with it new life…and like a snake shedding its skin, we let go of the pain, the disapointment and sorrow?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mrs P, the sun does wonders for our mood. Of that I am sure. February/March is often a difficult time for me, emotionally, and I feel that, for me, part of the problem arises from the fact that that period marks the beginning of darker/colder days. Your Rick sounds exactly the right sort of person to have alongside when life gets turbulent. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Mrs. P

        My wish is for cheery fires to warm up the cold days and nights. And many comforting conversations with people you care about near and far. :d

        Reply
  3. daniellajoe

    Happy Birthday Gallivanta, may you have many many more happy ones 🙂
    This post as all your posts have a nice nostalgic feel, you are still a Chaplain a cyber Chaplain, it is always good to share our faith and counsel and in the process we get edified too…Have a nice today!!!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Many thanks for your birthday wishes, Daniella. I am glad you are there to edify me about crochet. I am not skilled at it, at all, but I am intrigued by it.

      Reply
  4. Daniela

    Very interesting post. In my youth, which unfolded a long time ago and in a very different land to one I call home now, I read a lot about word’s religions and history of religious thought. It fascinated me and for a year or so and so I was contemplating joining Mother Therese’s order. My idea was (and to certain extant still remains) that true faith is lived and shown to be lived, through doing good. After many windy and some rough roads, I settled for humanity. My first ‘rule’ remains – do no harm. Somehow I get by with it.

    Take Care,
    Daniela

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Seems to me you have chosen a wonderful way to live, Daniela. If doing good and doing no harm were the bottom, non-negotiable lines for our lives, our businesses, our Government, a lot of problems would simply vanish.

      Reply
  5. shoreacres

    Always late, I am. No matter — early or late, it’s wonderful to find you feeling stronger, steadier, and offering (as you always do) such beautiful reflections. I followed all of the wordplay with interest. I’ve not read Pascal myself, but I’m a great fan of pansies, and have a few small treasures adorned with them. One of my favorites is this Paul de Longpré piece, which hangs in my dining room. I had two of his yardlongs, too, but my place was starting to feel a bit like an antique shop, so off they went, before mustiness started setting in.

    I’m sorry I missed your birthday, but I also believe in birthday seasons, so “late” for that, too, is purely relative. And I much enjoyed your tale of your flirtation with chaplaincy. I had my own experiences in that regard, beginning with the day in Liberia when a hospital Medical Director said, roughly, “Al and Nancy are going home, and we’ll be chaplain-less. You’re taking their place.” Thus began a quite remarkable adventure that led to gaining a degree, ordination, losing a husband, and other such delights. Even if I don’t write a memoir, I should jot down some of the memories, just so I don’t forget. It was a wild ride for a couple of decades.

    That line about “Easternight, the mind’s midwinter” reminds me of Eliot’s “Midwinter spring is its own season…” I wonder if one of the other of them was influenced by the other?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yardlongs! As in yardlong panels? I can’t imagine having one of those, let alone two. I can, however, imagine you as a chaplain. The Medical Director obviously saw your chaplain potential, too. Would you ever go back to that kind of ministry?
      I don’t know much about Alice Oswald. One reviewer of her work says she is influenced by Ted Hughes.

      And a big thank you to introducing me to the work of Paul de Longpré. His roses are exquisite. Pansies, too, of course.

      Reply
      1. Zambian Lady

        Me? Chaplain? No! 🙂 A friend mentioned it, but I never wanted that. I did not mind doing prison ministry as a lay person only, whether full time if the opportunity arose, or part-time as I had been doing.

        Reply
  6. Mike Howe

    I’m so glad that you are feeling better, perky even, that is great news. You write beautifully and your humility (in these days of twittering nonsense) is very refreshing. Happy Easter 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Mike, and the twittering nonsense made me smile. I agree, some things are best left unsaid, or left to silence. Do you remember the days when we had to be very frugal with words, in order to fit them on aerogrammes, or fit them onto so many sheets of paper so they didn’t go over the letter weight and rate? It’s good to have more freedom and flexibility with our communications these days, but perhaps, once in a while, we could reflect on the value of our words before we let them loose on the world. I don’t tweet. Would I if I had time? I don’t know. Happy Easter.

      Reply
  7. Andrea Stephenson

    I was sorry to hear about how down you’ve felt recently and I can certainly relate to some of those feelings these past few weeks. But glad you had a happy birthday and are feeling perkier now.

    Reply
  8. Juliet

    When I was a churchgoer, I used to get bored with the sermons. I certainly would have woken up if you were preaching! The pansies are lovely, to support your musings and your recovery.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh dear, yes, Juliet, sermons can be so dull. At boarding school I suffered years of enforced, horribly dull church services. The only thing that saved them, for me, was the music. The person who led the Preaching Skills course was John Bluck, who was Dean of Christchurch Cathedral at the time. I found his sermons lively and interesting and informative. Thanks to the power of Google I have just found his Easter sermon for 2013. http://www.napiercathedral.org.nz/Sermons/+JB%27s%20sermon%20Easter%20day%202013.pdf which was good to read.

      Reply
  9. KerryCan

    Here I am, showing up late as usual! But I did want to say happy birthday and tell you that, even though I am not a religious person, I find your posts and approach to life to be comforting and insightful–maybe you’re doing the chaplain’s job, a little bit, here! So glad you’re feeling better these days!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks Kerry. I had an unexpectedly Happy Birthday, so that was grand. As for showing up late….I am going to be a late arrival on blogs for a while as my main laptop failed and I am using a tiny machine which reminds me every minute that without a proper computer I am only semi-functional. It’s like trying to knit a sweater with sock needles! As for religion…religion and I have a tenuous relationship, sometimes, but I know that I can’t live without it. I suppose like any relationship it has to be worked at it to be its best. The other big doubt/fall off the colt thing for me, as far as Christianity is concerned, is that I know jolly well that if I had been born in a non Christian country I would have happily been part of the faith of that country.

      Reply
  10. Tiny

    What a wonderful post for the Easter season! We all fall from the donkey every now and then, but luckily we’re encouraged to get back on. I’m happy you’re starting to feel better too – beautiful like the pansies! Have a wonderful Easter week.

    Reply
  11. Cynthia Reyes

    Book suggestion: Try Boris Johnson’s The Churchill Factor.
    Extremely engaging, book. Insightful, witty, really well-written.
    Also, I’d never visited Sharon Kay Penman’s blog, but I did after you mentioned it, and dropped her a line. OK, a few.
    Thoroughly enjoyed her post about the funeral of Richard 111.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks for the suggestion, Cynthia. Glad that you visited SK Penman’s blog, and dropped her a line or two. I am impressed with the way she communicates with her readers.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          😀 I think I will spare everyone or maybe make a book my project for my 80th birthday. From Persephone, I have selected Round About a Pound a Week by Maud Pember Reeves, http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/maud-pember-reeves/ and No Surrender by Constance Maud. No prizes for guessing I have a penchant for the name Maud. My grandmother was a Maud. She was a working woman, and, being a New Zealander, would have been amongst the first women in the world to vote.

        2. Gallivanta Post author

          Yep, partly. 😀 Which reminds me of another Maud author, and a Canadian to boot; Lucy Maud Montgomery. Mauds are marvellous. 🙂

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          I hope so, too. I am twice the height and size of my grandmother, Maud. However, Maud means ‘powerful battler’ and she was a strong woman to my mind. Also, I see from Mr Google that a maud is ‘a grey-striped plaid cloak, formerly worn by shepherds in Scotland’ which is also a lovely image for me, in connection with my grandmother Maud; she was comforting like a warm cloak.

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Thank you, Mary. I am listening to St Matthew Passion now. This morning I listened to Stabat Mater by Pergolesi, which completely stole my heart. The Vivaldi was beautiful too but I know that it is the Pergolesi piece which I will be playing again this Easter.

  12. Sheila

    I’m happy to hear you’re feeling better! The pansies must have done the trick. That’s very brave of you to stand up in front of a congregation like that, especially when holidays like Palm Sunday or Easter notoriously pack the house. If I ever tried anything like that, I doubt if any words would make their way out. Wishing you a beautiful and healthy Easter.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Sheila. Pansies work wonders. 🙂 I thought the congregation and the Minister were very brave to let me do it. But, yes, I was nervous. A Happy Easter to you too.

      Reply
  13. Robbie

    After reading your blog this past year, I feel you would of been an amazing chaplain:-) You write such beautiful posts, but in some ways your blog is a way for you to share + help all of us out here over the cyber fence:-) I love visiting your blog + seeing the beauty you photograph + create:-)
    I am so glad to hear you are feeling better-this season does lift ones spirits. I am a believer and feel Jesus is The Way for me:-)
    Happy Easter this next week:-)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It’s Easter Sunday as I write. I am enjoying a hot cross bun. It’s overcast and chilly outside, but my heart is warmed by your kind words. A Blessed Easter Sunday to you.

      Reply
  14. danniehill

    Wonderful post and so happy you’re doing better. Faith and donkeys are a rough ride but it’s so much better than walking alone. What would we do without what He did for us?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Dannie, I would be completely lost on my own. I need friends human and divine. 🙂 Your comment reminded me of this old song which I listened to a lot in my childhood.

      Reply
  15. Mary

    So happy that you are feeling better Gallivanta. Love your blog posts and getting to know you through this venue – take care and have a lovely week.

    Reply
  16. clarepooley33

    Happy belated birthday! I am so pleased you are starting to feel much better.
    I found your post quite touching today. It must be quite a nerve-wracking experience to preach, especially on such an important day. Knowing how much my views on everything have changed over the years, it is not surprising to me that you are now not sure about the quality of your Reflection and have ‘fallen off your colt’! As we get older and widen our experience of life, of course we change the way we behave, express ourselves; what we believe. How wonderful to have had that ‘hubris’ – to have felt so secure and capable that you wanted to pass on that ‘good news’ and comfort others. Bad experiences often beat that confidence out of us leaving us feeling weak and often inadequate. Your Reflection rejoices and calls others to rejoice too and is something to be proud of even if you wouldn’t write the same thing now. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t all experience doubt and fear at some stage in our lives. I understand that you might feel very cautious about faith in general now but glad that you continue to receive support from your local church and friends.
    I had thoughts of becoming a counsellor some years ago and had started to research into it. My life then started to become quite difficult and I couldn’t continue with the research and I never started the training. I am so glad I didn’t, as, for the past 15 years, I have had so many family problems that I don’t think I could have coped if I had been a counsellor as well!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      As our friend, Cynthia, said to me, once we get past 40, we have earned a birth week, so, on that basis, your birthday wishes are not at all belated. 🙂 Yes, I am amazed now to look back upon my confidence and enthusiasm. It was wonderful. Like you, dreams and plans for myself, started to take a back seat about 12 years ago (gosh, is it that long?). For a while I grieved over imagined lost opportunities, until I realised that my new lifestyle had given me wonderful real opportunities. For example, for educational reasons, I lived far away from my parents from the age of 12 to 21. I saw my parents only a few times a year. From 2000 to 2009, I was able to provide a home for them, in my home, for up to 6 months a year. What a privilege. What an opportunity to make up for lost time. Our paths may not be what we dreamed they would be, but they can still be good. Oh, and, by the way, perhaps you have been a counsellor all along… to your family :).

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Not easy at all. But, when I consider I have been blessed with the basics of shelter, food, and warmth and some cash, I feel it’s incumbent on me to make the best effort I can.

  17. Wendy L. Macdonald

    Your Palm Sunday thoughts (and pansies) are both lovely and encouraging. I appreciate that you acknowledge and even accept that there will be doubts on our faith ride. So glad that you are feeling better too. The valleys are never a fun place to be. I’m thankful that Jesus accepted what was done to him so that He could be our eternal way, truth, and life. I know that I need him every hour.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Wendy. The valleys are not fun and I get vertigo on the mountains. 😦 What a difficult person I am, wanting everything to be plain and simple, and handed to me on a plate. 😉 Your words “I need him every hour” took me back to a hymn I knew well as a child. A clever video, too, isn't it?

      Reply
      1. Wendy L. Macdonald

        That was wonderful. He looked like he had fun making that video too. Our youth pastor and his teen son sang it as a duet yesterday at church and I struggled not to cry because I love both live singing and that lovely hymn. ❀

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Wendy, I am so pleased to hear that hymn was sung at your Palm Sunday service. I didn’t know if it still featured in church services. I am glad you can confirm that it still does.

  18. Just Add Attitude

    I think the employers of chaplins were much mistaken – you would have made an excellent one. I am pleased to hear you are feeling almost as perky as those lovely pansies. Take care. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      JAA, thank you for your vote of confidence. In one of my counseling classes, we were told that most of us would not go on to become fully trained counselors, but, at the very least, the course we were on would help us to become better listeners and communicators, and that would benefit us and our communities/families every bit as much as having a career in counseling. I thought those were wise words. No need to be a chaplain, or a counselor; we can make a difference just by being good, caring, listening, people/friends.

      Reply
  19. restlessjo

    Thank you for reminding me that it is Palm Sunday, Ann. So far have I fallen from the path that I had quite forgotten. I will take a moment to reflect, and to give thanks. The happiest news is that you are now well enough to kick that darn laptop, should the need arise 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I haven’t done more than reflect on matters this Palm Sunday. In my usual way I woke far too late to attend church. For today I am being patient and kind towards my ailing computer. It has been a good friend. I don’t want to resort to kicking it out the door. Is it too much to hope for a resurrection for my computer? 😉 Yes, probably. 😦

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Not sacrilegious at all Jo. I am sad that we have mostly forgotten the old ways of blessing and praying for tools and houses and any number of things that enrich our lives. Just for fun you may like to see this Blessing of Tools, as well as the long list of other blessings. http://www.catholicdoors.com/prayers/english/p01143.htm A computer is one of our most important tools, so should be given some respect. 🙂

      1. Steve Schwartzman

        If your computer is about to give up the ghost (or has already given it up), perhaps I can put in a good (though expensive) word for a MacBook, or an iMac if you don’t require portability.

        Reply
  20. cindy knoke

    First of all Happy Birthday! And many, many more my friend. Ironically, I suspect that now you would be the most incredible chaplain. Lack of certainty and feet of clay are immensely helpful in the healing arts. I think you would make a wonderful chaplain! I am so happy you are feeling better and so happy you blog. It is a chaplaincy of it’s own sort isn’t it! Hugs to you my friend and keep on feelng better. Thoughts and prayers always~

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Cindy for your birthday wishes, prayers and warm thoughts. You are kind to say I would make a good chaplain, now. I certainly have the feet of clay criteria. 🙂 And I hopefully have more wisdom and less hubris than I did at the beginning of the century, but my spirit and energy are far too weak to consider embarking on a chaplaincy career at this stage of my life. And I really like the idea of more chaplaincy, counselling etc being done online, or via mobile apps. It doesn’t replace personal contact but it’s another useful tool for connection and support.

      Reply
  21. womanseyeview

    Isn’t it fascinating to look back at things we wrote years ago and realize in one lifetime we change so many times. Hope you had a great birthday celebration. Pansies always remind me of my grandmother and so I bring them into my garden for a while each year.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Pansies were a favourite of my grandfather. He always had them in his garden. Yes, it always surprises me to see what I wrote long ago. I ask, ‘Really, is that me?”

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Iris. I know I am feeling much better because today my faithful old laptop died and I didn’t have a meltdown! I just feel mildly annoyed.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Strange things are happening with WordPress today. I am sure I replied to you this morning but I can see no evidence of that on my blog. And the like button has gone missing. 😦 But thank you for reading.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for the birthday greeting. And, yes, Palm Sunday was good. Hosanna, Hosanna, what a lovely word to say and to sing. As for ministering, I believe we do that for each other. Your sunsets always bring me comfort and calm, and bring back memories of a happy childhood lived near the sea, where we took time out to watch the setting of the sun. Do you sail or travel by boat? In today’s paper there is an article on boating through the picturesque islands and harbours of the Scottish west coast. It looks so very beautiful.

      Reply
      1. The Hopeful Herbalist

        I grew up a wee bit inland so the beach was a special occasion! When looking for a cottage I had a list of “requirements” for me but prayed for a sea view for hubby! He would like to sail but I’m a land lubber 😄 Glad you had a lovely Palm Service – Bleed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Have a great day . We have snow on the hills again ❄️❄️❄️

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Truthfully I like to look at the sea more than I like to be on it. But the article I mentioned made me believe I could easily be tempted on to a boat to see that part of Scotland. I am also remembering that the Queen loves cruising in this area too.

        2. The Hopeful Herbalist

          In fine weather, cruising up the West coast is idyllic. My neighbour would go sailing and stop at a special eatery only accessible by boat . I think I would just get sea sick! But like the thought of sailing 😄

  22. colorpencil2014

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and reflections..inspiratonal as always. And I am very happy that you feel perky as a pansy, which I think from now on should be our life’s motto. Have a Blessed Palm Sunday, xo Johanna

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I do agree; the illustration is lovely. Pansies do very well in our climate. We can plant them now in autumn and they will go right through winter and into spring. I am glad we both have pansies to gaze upon.

      Reply
  23. Cynthia Reyes

    I love the whole of this post. the lady in her violet dress, the pot of cheery pansies, and your thought about Palm Sunday, Jesus, not having become a chaplain, etc.
    First, Happy Birthweek! I figure, once you’re over 40, it’s time to celebrate the whole darned week.
    I have always wondered about people who don’t entertain doubts at all, when it comes to religion. The very definition of faith means believing the unbelievable — which is a very tough thing.
    Been re-reading some of Pascal’s Pensees, just for the heck of it. Interesting thoughts about doubt and faith.
    Glad you are feeling sparky again. Some of us really depend on the wisdom of your posts!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Doubt keeps us humble. 🙂 I am big fan of Thomas, too. You are the second person to mention Pascal’s Pensees on this post. And I have to confess again that I haven’t read him. Perhaps I should but before I do that I have the pleasurable task of selecting two books from Persephone Books; a gift voucher from my lovely sister-in-law. http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/ I am bemused by the choice. Any recommendations?

      Reply
      1. Cynthia Reyes

        What a great place that Persephone Books is.
        I’m at a loss for recommendations.
        I find myself re-reading my old books.
        One book I will be looking for in my own library at home is The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman. This book moved me to tears one summer many years ago, at the thought that a person’s reputation could be destroyed forever undeservedly so.
        She does a detailed historical search and reveals to the reader in the form of historical fiction, a version of Richard 111 that is not usually heard.
        Now that the bones in the parking lot in London turned out to be his, and a Canadian collateral descendant of his made the coffin (as well as provided the DNA proof that those bones were Richard’s) I think I will search for that book and re-read it.
        Good luck with yoru decision. You may try either Jean Plaidy’s the Sun in Splendour or Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour, if that kind of story at all interests you. My husband laughed tht summer that I was ‘haunted by a very old, very white, very dead king” and he was right.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Cynthia, How lovely to be reminded of Jean Plaidy. In years gone by, I read many of her books, and I also read her in her guise as Victoria Holt. She was a prolific writer. Penman is new to me but I love it when historical accuracy is combined with good story telling so I am sure I would enjoy her writing. Did you check out her blog? I was fascinated by the recent funeral for Richard 111. I watched several items about it on BBC. As for that Persephone list; I am spoiled for choice.

      2. Steve Schwartzman

        The illustration you included of a pensée (pansy) and the two references to Pascale’s Pensées (Thoughts) sent me to my French etymological dictionary to see how long ago the word for ‘thought’ was first applied to the flower. The answer turns out to be around 1460, and the dictionary makes the comparison to the English use of forget-me-not for the myosotis.

        It also suddenly dawned on me that the name Pascal itself means ‘having to do with Easter.’ Who’d have thought of such a coincidence?

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I certainly didn’t think of it. I am usually quite quick to see links and connections but Pascal slipped by me. Thank you for remarking on it, and for providing the additional information on the pensee/pansy. The Forget Me Not is the flower symbol for Alzheimers Associations. The Forget Me Not is a plea to forget not our Pansies (pensees). As Flowers Personified says, we do make our flowers carry our foibles and problems, our hopes and our dreams. It’s a wonder they don’t all wilt or become shrinking violets when they see us approaching them.

        2. Steve Schwartzman

          Shrinking violets: very good.

          Following a different pensée, I can’t help thinking how different Flowers Personified would be if it had been based not on the flora of Europe but on native wildflowers of Aotearoa or Texas.

  24. Letizia

    Although you didn’t become a chaplain, what a wonderful experience that must have been to take those classes and take the pulpit. To learn and experience something new like that enriched our lives. Happy belated birthday!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Letizia, I enjoyed all the classes I did, including a touch typing course. Of all the preparation I did, the touch typing has been the most useful…..especially for blogging. 😀 Thanks for the birthday wishes.

      Reply
      1. Letizia

        That’s great that you know how to touch type well! Taking classes is always so enriching. I am starting a drawing class in two weeks to improve my sketching skills; I’m excited!

        Reply
    2. Dina Post author

      I agree wholeheartedly with Letizia, Gallivanta. I’m so glad to see you are feeling a bit better and hope you had a wonderful day yesterday. 🙂 ❤

      Reply
  25. Lavinia Ross

    It is interesting, the paths one takes in life, and where they go. What can seem like a tragedy one day turns out to be a blessing later on! I feel there are many different paths to Spirit, and different ways to serve the Greater Good in this life.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Amen to that Lavinia. My path has always embraced diversity. I believe that chaplaincy ( at least in NZ) does, too. Chaplains are interested in our spirituality rather than religion or lack of it.

      Reply
  26. I Bradley-Feary

    This is Jean’s Mum from UK saying thank you for those comforting thoughts and I am so glad you are beginning to feel and sound more like the old Gallivanta. God bless you richly this Easter season and give you His peace – the peace that passes all understanding. ISHBEL

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your kind words and the passing of the Peace. Your words remind me of when I used to stand on my rooftop in Cairo, looking out over the city towards the pyramids on the horizon. It was so peaceful up there, I felt I could almost grasp the peace that passes all understanding. If God had appeared beside me, there and then, I wouldn’t have been surprised. It’s funny where we can find peace. 🙂

      Reply
  27. Joanne Jamis Cain

    Greek Orthodox Easter this year is April 12, so my Palm Sunday is your Easter. I love your Reflection! It’s lovely and beautiful and I am so glad you shared it.
    Sending more good thoughts your way!
    xo Joanne

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Joanne. Yes, like Christmas in our household, we will be having an extended Easter to honour my husband’s orthodox traditions. We will be thinking of you. 🙂

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Like you he was baptised ‘orthodox’ but I have led him astray. 😀 Actually we were both non-religious when we met but with age we became interested in church again.

  28. Mélanie

    lovely, as usually… 🙂 btw, have you read Pascal’s famous “Pensées”?… 🙂 speakin’ of pansies… in French “une pensée” means ‘thought’ & ‘pansy’… therefore, pansies(thoughts) are 5-petal flowers that sometimes grow inside our mind and I strongly believe that most of them do have a soul… so, I’d like to quote you:”Lots of pretty thoughts to ponder…” 🙂
    https://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/mes-pensees-du-jour-5-petales-de-velours/
    * * *
    @”birthday pansies…” – I do recall you’re a Rammy Gal… ❤ my very best, stay healthy, positive and optimistic! friendly thoughts = amicales pensées, Mélanie – darwinist & cartesian… 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Melanie, I loved your pansy post the other day, so I was delighted when my friend arrived with a big pot of pansies. There I was thinking about pansies and, then, there they were in front of me. I have not read Pascal at all, but, of course, I have read about him.

      Reply
      1. earthbornliving

        I am glad to see your cheery birthday pansies and a new year ahead of you.
        So wishing you will continue finding renewed energy – an old English folklore says that on Easter Sunday when the sun rises it dances – hence the climbing of hills to see the spectacle ! I cannot say I’ve seen it dance but as with all things there’s always hope.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I am not likely to be up for dawn on Easter Sunday, so I will rely on you to let me know if any dancing sun is seen on your Easter morn. I know one thing that you will definitely see that I will not….Easter eggs, laid by your gorgeous ladies. Right now I am looking at a beautiful moon rising, and wondering about the opening line of Alice Oswald’s Field, “Easternight, the mind’s midwinter”. Not sure what that means. It’s darkest hour?

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