The Age of the Imagination

The Age of the Imagination

“He will love those that he loved, and he will love them to the end.”

Fr Dominic Robinson and Dr Theodora Hawksley,

I heard this sentence on Radio 4 this morning. I thought, yes, this is the sentence that I most believe in; this sentence above all others. This is what sums up the general atmosphere that I feel permeates the whole world; at least the world that I have come into contact with in the past few weeks. We, all of us, shall love those we love and we shall love them to the end, whether or not we can be with them.

As a young mother, raising five, sometimes combative children, I noticed that a good way to bring them all together, was to present them with a common enemy; me. Now of course I didn’t deliberately provoke them or behave inappropriately; what I did was to put them all in the same boat, at times, to give them a response to their behaviour that all of them shared. Now it occurs to me that this pandemic that we are all, globally, experiencing is the one thing that could bring us all together, and I do mean all.

There is a saying, “All religions are one.” Now this is attributed to William Blake, but I think that it is much older than that:

Accessed April 5th 2020

An olive tree, I planted a few years ago, one of 13 trees I have planted in various gardens over the years.

The reason that I feel this, is because the same phrase is inscribed on a bench in Bournemouth, a bench I sometimes sat on when I was living there for a decade (I used to take my children to walk in the park and sit on the lions, and to paint at All Fired Up, the pottery painting place, hoping to instil in them a love of art and an easy way to achieve respite when they were weary.)—the inscription, “All religions are one” struck me when I sat on that bench because it was offered as an epitaph for a soul that had passed, and that soul, if I remember rightly, was of eastern origin, and it occurred to me that the poets often relied on Eastern philosophy to guide them, although this is not often written about, perhaps because we have, for too long, perhaps, relied on The West as the epicentre of it all. Of course, this is an ego-centric and mis-guided perception. I have not researched the quote further, as my time was occupied in raising my five children rather than working, and dedicating myself to that task, since I myself was not able to have the education I deserved as an accident of poverty. Of course, this is not something I discuss or have told them, and they won’t be reading this, since four of them are occupied serving this country in its moment of crisis. All four of them, including the creative one, are serving this country. Of course, the powers that be have forgotten about the ability of art to sustain us, and the connection between creativity and good. Except that an artist, that I wrote about elsewhere in a recent blog, did not forget and suggested that the imagination was key in this struggle for right and good and for overcoming. Yet we are learning and I would like to posit, as I did somewhere else a few years ago, but my manuscript was rejected, and I failed to send it out again, that this is the age of the imagination.

Painted in 2008 at All Fired Up, Bournemouth, by my daughter, aged 18.

I was talking to my sister, based in London, the other day, and she said that she had not noticed the change in behaviour to one of love from those people she has come into contact with in London. I thought that was sad. But then I thought, it will come.

The overriding feeling that I have had is to reach out to those that I love, to reach out to them every day and to simply share my love with them. Sometimes love stays hidden; we do not express it. Perhaps, we do not want to interrupt the (often frenetic), pace of this current world which appears to be being undermined as we speak, and write, and create; and yet, sometimes what we should do is keep reaching out, no matter what. It is harder to bridge the gap of distance when you let go and stop entirely; it is harder to explain why you have suddenly begun to take an interest, at least that is how it may appear to someone who is untrained or inexperienced in the pattern of love and loss. I myself have loved and lost seven people, and what that has taught me is that the only regrets that I have are of the moments when I did not reach out, when I held back, when I did not say those things that I should have said, when I allowed fear to get in the way.

The other day, I rang my son and asked him not to volunteer to work for the NHS on the front line, because I know that all his life he has had issues with breathing; I will not go into this here because it is private, I mention this only, because my first thought was self-preservation, and, on reflection, this was selfish. I was thinking of our future life together; the one that would be lost, were he to succumb to a disease. Still, what right have we to decide when it is time to go, and as my mother says, we all have a time when we will go. Perhaps we cannot influence this and we should carry on and do whatever it is that we have been called to do. With me, it is writing and that is why I am penning this for you now, because this is the most beautiful sermon that I have every heard and I wanted to share it with you in case it helps you to find peace.

I cannot see in person any of my five children, and yet, I know God is with them, and it doesn’t matter which god it is, because god is love.

The following sermon might help you to feel rested and forgiven and accepted, even if you believe that all religions are one:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000h28l

Accessed, April 5th 2020

All my love,

Hermione

I heard this phrase on Radio 4 this morning. I thought, yes, this is the sentence that I most believe in; this sentence above all others. This is what sums up the general atmosphere that I feel permeates the whole world; at least the world that I have come into contact with in the past few weeks.

As a young mother, raising five, sometimes combative children, but mostly, wonderful, rewarding individuals, I noticed that a good way to bring them all together in moments of unrest, was to present them with a common enemy; me. Now of course I didn’t deliberately provoke them or behave inappropriately; what I did was to put them all in the same boat, at times, to give them a response to their behaviour that all of them shared. Now it occurs to me that this pandemic that we are all, globally, experiencing is the one thing that could bring us all together, and I do mean all.

There is a saying, “All religions are one.” Now this is attributed to William Blake, but I think that it is much older than that:

Accessed April 5th 2020

The reason that I feel this, is because the same phrase is inscribed on a bench in Bournemouth with a clue in the dedication (I have always enjoyed verbal, word related clues, much more than puzzles of the visual kind), a bench I sometimes sat on when I was living there for a decade (I used to take my children to walk in the park and sit on the lions, and to paint at All Fired Up, the pottery painting place, hoping to instil in them a love of art and an easy way to achieve respite when they were weary.)—the inscription, “All religions are one” struck me when I sat on that bench because it was offered as an epitaph for a soul that had passed, and that soul, if I remember rightly, was of eastern origin, and it occurred to me that the poets often relied on Eastern philosophy to guide them, although this is not often written about, perhaps because we have, for too long, perhaps, relied on the west as the epi-centre of it all. Perhaps, this is an ego-centric and mis-guided perception. (Yet, isn’t it natural to imagine that the weather is the same everywhere, or that the loo roles have disappeared everywhere, or that the queues for the chemist have only just started, when they reached London weeks ago. Ah, the frenetic pace of London, a city I worked in and loved and shall love until my death.) I have not researched the quote further, as my time was occupied in raising my five children rather than working, and dedicating myself to that task of educating and nurturing, since I myself was not able to have the education I deserved, as an accident of poverty. Of course, this is not something I discuss or have told them, and they won’t be reading this, since four of them are occupied serving this country in its moment of crisis. All four of them, including the creative one, are serving this country, and the fifth is ensconced at home with her father. Of course, the powers that be have forgotten about the ability of art to sustain us, and the connection between creativity and good. Except that an artist, that I wrote about elsewhere in a recent blog, did not forget and suggested that the imagination was key in this struggle for right and good and for overcoming. Yet we are learning and I would like to posit, as I did somewhere else a few years ago, but my manuscript was rejected, and I failed to send it out again, that this is the age of the imagination. I am not sure that I can take any credit for this prediction, because I am sure that Blake already predicted it, and certainly God or god did, since we have the line “in the beginning was the Word,” which is a puzzling statement to make, if it means nothing at all, isn’t it? And must be another clue.

I was talking to my sister, based in London, the other day, and she said that she had not noticed the change in behaviour to one of love from those people she has come into contact with in London recently. I thought that was sad. But then I thought, it will come. It has certainly come to us here in south Glos’; we are out on the pavements clapping for our key workers, and we are keeping our distance and tending to our gardens.

The overriding feeling that I have had is to reach out to those that I love, to reach out to them every day and to simply share my love with them, via Whattsap and Twitter and WordPress, and video, and via writing. I am sure we all feel the same.

Sometimes love stays hidden; we do not express it. Perhaps, we do not want to interrupt the (often frenetic), pace of this current world which appears to be being undermined as we speak, and write, and create; and yet, sometimes what we should do is keep reaching out, no matter what.

It is harder to bridge the gap of distance when you let go and stop entirely; it is harder to explain why you have suddenly begun to take an interest, at least that is how it may appear to someone who is untrained or inexperienced in the pattern of love and loss. I myself have loved and lost seven people, and what that has taught me is that the only regrets that I have are of the moments when I did not reach out, when I held back, when I did not say those things that I should have said. When I allowed fear to get in the way.

My son has been asked to volunteer; to step up early before he has finished his medical training for the NHS. The other day, I rang my son and asked him not to volunteer to work for the NHS on the front line, because I know that all his life he has had issues with breathing; I will not go into this here because it is private, I mention this only, because my first thought was self-preservation, preservation of those that I love, and, on reflection, this was selfish. I was thinking of our future life together; the one that would be lost, were he to succumb to a disease; I was thinking of his wife and his unborn children, I was thinking of all those times together that I was looking forward to.

Still, what right have we to decide when it is time to go?–and as my mother says, we all have a time when we will go. Perhaps we cannot influence this and we should carry on and do whatever it is that we have been called to do. With me, it is writing and that is why I am penning this for you now, because this is the most beautiful sermon that I have every heard and I wanted to share it with you in case it helps you to find peace.

I cannot see, in person, any of my five children, and yet, I know God is with them, and it doesn’t matter which god it is, because god is love.

The following sermon might help you to feel rested and forgiven and accepted, even if you believe that all religions are one:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000h28l

Accessed, April 5th 2020

All my love,

Hermione

Published by hermionelaake contributing editor O:JA&L

Currently, whist working on long fiction, I write short stories, poetry, essays and blog weekly. I appeared on Blog Talk Radio, 2016, interview across continents with Susan Wingate. See my twitter account: herziloph, pinned tweet; Award nominee, Jointly-published and Indie writer. Nominated for the Avon and Authonomy First Lines prize, 2014 and the H. G. Wells Grand Prize for Fiction, 2013. My flash fiction is published with Open: Journal of Arts and Letters.

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