It must be over forty years since I rummaged in that wastepaper basket in the office. I salvaged a photo I’d seen the photographer toss into it disgustedly – saying it was double exposed, and there was no way his camera should have produced such a useless image.
It’s guaranteed not to, he had exclaimed. So I looked at it, and recognised what I was seeing. The little old woman sitting in the chair with piercing brown eyes and a deeply wrinkled face was Mother Teresa, who had visited this country back in the early seventies.
I was working on a woman’s magazine. I had given up any belief in God, or the Supernatural a few years before, when my life seemed so awful that I blamed the Deity, and decided to get on without It. And I didn’t like Mother Teresa.
But the picture I was looking at was one of authentic holiness. The light around this woman ringed her body, and was not obliterated by the arms of the chair, but carried on around her form. I still have this photo, feeling that it is an historic one.
In the early pictures of saints, in western Renaissance pictures, Byzantine ikons, middle Eastern paintings, to Indian Jain and Hindu representations of holiness, artists have usually painted a halo around the head of a person. But this was a light which completely ringed Mother Teresa. Maybe it was her aura – which was filled with light.
I’ve never been very impressed by the efforts of the Catholic church to establish sainthood based on the person having performed at least two miracles of healing. Healing is not that rare, even among healers the Catholic church would not recognise as saints.
Healers to me are of rather a different order, and maybe some can see the light in their souls that is not obvious to us lesser mortals. Nelson Mandela, a great man, whose great work of healing is now being undone in South Africa, would be one of those healers… maybe Princess Diana, who brought comfort and hope and re-introduced the word ‘love’ into the vocabularies of some who never used it, was a healer. Albert Schweitzer, the great musician and theologian, turned doctor, who brought healing to the sick or dying Africans who came to him at Lambarene in Africa, was a great healer and a great man, but has never been called a saint.
The face of Major Keeble, who fought in the Falklands War is marked with that same spirituality which makes a difference in our world. He was second in command of his regiment, when Col H. Jones, a VC hero, was killed during the Battle of Goose Green. A devout Catholic, Keeble took command at a stage when one in six of his men were killed or wounded, they were largely out of ammunition, had been without sleep for 40 hours, surrounded by burning gorse bushes, and were vulnerable to a counter-attack. A hopeless situation in fact.
After kneeling alone in prayer amongst the burning gorse, he returned to his men, ordered them to ceasefire, and released several Argentine prisoners of war with a message to their commander to surrender or risk more casualties. The offer was accepted, no more killing and a peaceful surrender of the opposing Argentine forces was the result of his action/Guidance. Now retired and still making a difference, Keeble has established a consultancy and lectures on the: “ethic of business transformation with the ethic of peoples’ flourishing”.
I have seen two halos. One was during a personal growth course when the forty-five of us there were being really challenged, and floundering. Then someone spoke up, joyful words of inspiration, courage and wisdom. I looked across at him with amazement, and saw a ring of light around his head, just as depicted in those ancient paintings.
The man with a halo was a gay who worked with Aids sufferers. He came to this course because two friends had persuaded him. His two friends were as ‘holy’ as he was – whole in the real sense of the word. I loved them both for their goodness and simplicity. Both were selfless teachers who loved their boys in the purest sense of the word. The last time I saw one of them, he was sitting on the pavement, his feet in the gutter in the pouring rain, with his arm around the shoulders of a desperate drunk.
The other time I saw a halo was when I looked across at a ten- year- old child, lost in playing an old church organ. Another photographer from the same magazine couldn’t resist taking a photo of her, and when it was developed, there was that ring of light emanating from the crown of her head. I can’t explain it. Neither could the photographer with his state of the art camera.
Years later, I was talking to a grandchild, the same age as the girl. He was surprised to discover from me, that not everyone saw the light that he saw, shining from people’s hands and sometimes all around them. Later that night, as I tucked him into bed, he sat up and said to me earnestly, “Grannie, everything that God creates comes from the light”.
Malcolm Muggeridge, the initially sceptical English journalist who went to India to see what Mother Teresa was up to, went to the tatty, ill-equipped hospital where the dying, lying destitute on the streets, were brought to her and her gentle loving nuns. He wrote that the hospital was filled with a light, which also felt like joy.
I can’t explain any of this. I’m just recording and revelling in the little that I have observed about light and love.
PS Since leaving my other internet provider at the beginning of the year, I have struggled with my new one, discovering after some months, a second e-mail account where all the blogs I follow have been accumulating for months. So I have hundreds of e-mails to sort through, as well as thousands of others that this new email provider dug up from somewhere in the past, and generously deposited in my files. So I’m taking a break from writing my blog for a few weeks while I wade through this mystifying and mountainous back-log… be bak sun, as they say!!!
Food for threadbare gourmets
Deciding to sip our spicy pumpkin soup from cups made me re-think croutons, which I love. So instead of frying cubes of sour dough bread in olive oil, I fried squares and fingers of the bread instead, put them on a plate, and let people help themselves. They were so delicious and so successful that I will probably never bother with fiddly croutons ever again. Guests waxed nostalgic about fried bread from their childhood… don’t we do fried bread anymore?.
Food for thought
This made me laugh, another version of a famous prayer, but still – to some extent – true!
Lord, give me coffee to find the courage to do the things that I can change, and give me whisky to help me accept the things I cannot change…
27 responses to “Observing light and love”
What a wise, wonderful child, Valerie! We do, indeed, all come from Light…and Love! 😉 xoxoM
Yes, yes, so lovely to hear from you Margarita… apologies for the delay,
LikeLiked by 1 person
Trust all is well in your world, dear friend? 😉 xoxoM
Another winner, Valerie. Good luck with the emails. 🙂
Can’t thank you enough for your supportive comments Janet, always so good to hear from you, Valerie
How wonderful Valerie! Thank you for posting~
LikeLiked by 1 person
Cindy, thank you. A comment from you is worth gold, knowing how busy you are and how much work you do on your wonderful blog… and thank you for including us all on your travels
What a wonderful post! Hurry back!
Thank you, Valorie, so good to hear from you, apologies for my late reply, still catching up !!!!
I too have been blessed to see halos! Once within a man, as he was talking to a group of people. He really wasn’t saying much which was profound, for I stopped and listened for a spell. But the goodness of this man was all around him.
Then as my sister of choice was dying from cancer she told me to not be afraid of the next life…the people there, the cities, the towns, the countryside were all surround in rainbow hues of light…when I looked at her laying there, in her hospital bed I saw an amazing hue of light, like she was inside a rainbow….she passed two days later.
Now here is the most amazing thing (gift) sometimes I can see halos (or rings of amazing light) around the names of people who write to me on my blog…the words and the spirit of that person seems to glow.
I do believe it is true—angels walk among us—and some of those angels don’t realize they are more than the common man….which is our blessing to get to know them.
LikeLiked by 3 people
Linda, what a wonderful comment thank you so much … how simply beautiful each of your experiences are… love to think of all those glowing names of people on your blog who are drawn to read about your beautiful life…
LikeLiked by 1 person
Joy, hope, forgiveness bring light in the darkest moment. Your post is my reminder that we belong in a compassionate community. While we do walk as individuals, when we share a pathway with others who are committed to positive outcomes for all, we feel a lightness of spirit!! Thank you, dearest friend!!
Dearest Rebecca… thank you for your beautiful thoughts, which, as ever, expand anything i was trying to say…I feel that lightness of spirit whenever we are in contact, with love, Valerie
LikeLiked by 1 person
I believe that angels can manifest in my forms. Best wishes on sorting through all those emails.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Will be in touch!
I can readily accept as a strong possibility that the ‘aura’ some mystics claim to see could well be everyone’s personal force-field sensed, and that the indication of it as white light would demonstrate a moment, or a state, of higher vibrations in that field. That, in turn, would add to the idea that everyone has a life-force as something distinct from the organs of the body
Can’t argue with that ! In fact, I agree !
Are the frightening head-lines I see about SA true, or at any rate faintly related to fact? You are in my thoughts.
LikeLiked by 1 person
South Africa is at present not a place for the faint-hearted. Having criminals in the top echelons is remarkably encouraging to all who aspire to doing dirty deeds at all levels. One needs to be tolerant of those who blather a lot of hot air but don’t actually do anything. One has to take precautions at all times against violent crime, and insane or inept drivers. There is the automatic reaction to any criticism that it is ‘racist’. Oh, I could go on and on, but it is amazing how one adapts.
This quote I never heard before, it made me smile. Thank you!
Good to hear from you … yes, those words made me giggle, and I love to share a joke !!!
A beautiful post! I love what you say about the healers. I’d never heard of Major Keebler or his part in ending the Falkland was, and I was touched by it. It takes courage as well as great love to do what he did. I’ve never seen a halo in real life myself, but I love your grandson’s wisdom, and truly believe that “everything God creates comes from the light.”
Thank you for your thoughtful and appreciative comment – as you might know, those things are precious to a thirsty writer…yes, I loved the story of Major Keeble, who I thought was truly heroic… and I loved the mystifying outcome, when a commander in a strong position, agreed to surrender to him.( “God/good moves in mysterious ways
His wonders to perform:”)
And it gives me such real joy to know that others – including you – agree with my grandson’s words… the world seems hopeful when I know that…
Oh, how lovely. I will be more mindful and watching for halos now! Please don’t be gone long!
Hello Luanne, so good to hear from you… how is your protegee? any good- hearted takers for him? You are both in my mind ( and heart !)
What a lovely post filled with light! I always say turn away from the darkness and go to the light…wherever you find it. Love the quote but I would probably substitute wine for whisky. All the best to you with your new provider! Cheers! And I will watch for halos!
Hello J0, how lovely to have connected… and thank you for your lovely comment too..
.yes, I’d have gone for wine instead of whisky… gave up spirits in my twenties when I noticed how ravaged I looked after a glass of brandy and ginger!
Ah… the new provider.. that’s another story, which requires much more than one glass of wine… but am coming back anyway…
so yes, cheers and good wishes to you, Valerie
A lovely post, thank you.