David Meara – “The One Light”
One of my favourite poets is the Welsh priest and poet R S Thomas. He writes in one of his poems: “As has been said, the point of travelling is not to arrive, but to return home laden with pollen you shall work up into the honey the mind feeds on.” And he goes on:
“What are our lives but harbours
We are continually setting out
From, airports at which we touch
Down and remain in too briefly
To recognise what it is they remind
Us of? “
Thomas is using the idea of journeying as a metaphor for human life. He is suggesting that all we do in our lives is a searching, for our true selves, for meaning, ultimately for God. I find the image of journeying, or pilgrimage, a very attractive and exciting one for human life and for our Christian faith. It encourages us to keep exploring what we believe and to be on the look-out for the pollen of new ideas and insights that can become the honey on which our minds can feed.
Journeying suggests movement, a sense of adventure, a willingness to take risks and to trust God. Lent is a time for journeying, for going boldly where you haven’t gone before, conscious that we are going forward in faith, guided and sustained by Jesus.
Thomas ends his poem, which is called “Somewhere”:
“Surely there exists somewhere,
As the justification for our looking for it,
The one light that can cast such shadows?”
If Jesus Christ is The Light, our journeying is to follow his shadow, to catch his light, and to reflect it in our lives. Poetry often gives us illuminating insights, and R S Thomas doesn’t disappoint in this poem, and the rest of his work. His insights have sustained me on my journeying, and I thank God for the poetry of RS Thomas.