Tag Archives: reflections

A place for my stuttering heart to find voice

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Photo: Me writing my journal near Hermanus, South Africa. ©Hilary Murdoch 2013

 IMG_5082Copyright Hilary Murdoch © 2014. Mixed Media. Inside free.

I’m delighted and honoured to be invited to write a guest post for my friend Claire De Boer who I got to know in Burundi last year. Her blog focuses on the healing gift of writing. My piece is about journalling and how that’s helped me express my heart…


“Sometimes I feel paralysed by my emotions, as if they are a messed up ball of wool inside me. Sitting quietly to write can be like gently pulling out each string, laying it down in a line to see it for what it is. And there on the table it looses its power to hold me hostage.”

Do click through to read the full piece here.

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The Mountain

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The tabletop

The banqueting table of God

The Mountain

Around which, life happens

Above which, streets bustle

Against which, all vistas are set

In relation to which, directions are given.

Wherever you are in Cape Town

You can look up

To see it towering above.

In many cultures and countries

Mountains are sacred

A meeting place with God.

Directing our sight upwards

Above the everyday hum-drum

And hassle of the streets

Above our concerns and cares

Upwards to see

An awe-inspiring constant

As life and death, joy and suffering

Shift as shadows

Around it.

Even when covered with cloud

We are aware that it’s there

Can sense it without seeing it

The Mountain

Proceeding and more permanent than humanity

Rising above the man made structures

Keeping us from over-estimating our race.

A silent but strong prompt

To lift your eyes

To know where your help comes from

To remember the greatness of the Creator.

His constancy

Majesty

Faithfulness

Centrality.

And yet

Unlike the mountain

He isn’t cold, removed

He steps down

Gets involved in everyday life.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

We often need something

To lift our sights

To raise our hope

Wherever we live

Mountain or none.

What prompts you to look up?

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?” – Psalm 121:1

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

Beauty revealed

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When I first arrived in my new Cape Town home, I really didn’t much like the plants in this garden – too many spikes, cacti and succulents. They seemed aggressive, harsh, not beautiful. I wanted to see more colour, more flowers, a softer beauty. I contemplated planting roses and other flowers. Until someone pointed out they are not indigenous.

That stopped me in my tracks.

I felt shamed by my unintended horticultural imperialism. De-valuing the unfamiliar and imposing my perception of beauty. Tempted to change it and dominate it, before I had really seen it and known it.

So I sat with it as it was. And watered it.

After a few weeks I now see more beauty and more flowers.

Maybe the flowers were there before and I didn’t see them, only seeing them now as my eyes are accustomed to this garden, its particular indigenous beauty, having stopped subconsciously but arrogantly expecting it to look like an English garden. I can see the beauty in the shape and structure of the African non-flowering plants too – different to the colourful, showy, soft beauty of flowers, but beautiful none the less.  

Or maybe some of the flowers have bloomed since we arrived, as we have watered the garden and loved it.

I think it’s been a bit of both.

Forgive me, my African friends for my ignorance and arrogance. I am learning.

Not wanting to stretch a point but this has made me think. Maybe the plants aren’t so dissimilar to us. Showing our beauty to those who truely see us, who care and nurture. Beauty seen in difference as the lens of expecting familiarity is removed.