Parson & Parish 172, Summer 2012, pp. 256
copyright © 2012 James Woodward
There is More: Poems by Frances Blodwell
We spend a lifetime searching for meaning as our experience breaks and shapes and re-shapes us. Part of the task of the Priest is to listen to human experience in all its rich complexity and interpret it in the light of the Christian faith. This pastoral heart is part of what attracts many into Anglicanism and forms our missional commitment to all those living within the parish.
If our hearts are to be kept in good shape we need both to keep feeding our imaginations and nurturing knowledge and wisdom. This is especially the case when we come to journey alongside people who are facing the vulnerabilities of illness and death. We might even ask ourselves how we might face up to our mortality.
Frances Blodwell was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in her early fifties. She was aware that this prognosis would bring certain death after the gradual decay of her faculties. After the initial shock Frances turned to the medium of poetry to express something of what it was like to live with such an unremitting illness.
In these poems there is simplicity, honesty, courage and struggle. There is deep dependence on the love of God and a desire to give shape to that faith in fragments of spiritual adventure. The book reminds us of how much we simply do not see in living as we rush about content with existing on the surface of life.
There is pain here and some despair but an openness and receptiveness to love and Ultimate Love that offers some natural authenticity to this work. What mystery there is in our living and learning!
The reviewer, the Revd Dr James Woodward, is a Canon of St George's Windsor.
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