Thursday, 1 August 2002
This morning we were up at 6.15 (not my choice) and shortly afterwards set off on the bike to go round the reservoir. We stopped a little way up the mill stream where it is easy to get down to the water and there is enough flow to make throwing sticks in worth the effort. Willow leaves become little fish, and sticks are canoes, but most of them get stuck within a foot or two of beginning their journey – a trailing weed, muddy shallows, some other debris – stuck fast and the current too feeble to free them and set them moving again.
Except that, eventually, one of the many (many) does miraculously sail on, perfectly avoiding every obstacle, merrily down the stream out of sight, and we can only imagine some wonderful adventure just beginning …
How many prayers do we pray, how many dreams do we dream, how many good intentions do we cherish in our thoughts, only for them all to get snagged up or bogged down before they have really got anywhere.
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes it says, “Cast your bread upon the waters and after many days it will return to you”. I’m not sure if I really know what the writer was on about, but he seems to be encouraging a kind of reckless generosity (albeit with a pay back) – Don’t worry how much of your effort is wasted – if one prayer, or dream or good intention really does get through, then that is something beautiful and beyond the cold calculation of efficiency.