There have been moments this week when I have been struck by the beauty I have seen.

It is bluebell time and a walk in Ashridge Estate revealed them in all their splendour. I have also been sowing seeds and watching the germination process and there is a magical beauty in the tiny seedlings that will, I hope, grow into tasty vegetables. I am already harvesting rhubarb and asparagus and to enjoy them virtually straight from the allotment to the table is a treat. 

But there has been beauty too in the people I have met this week. I was invited to a seventieth birthday party of a good friend. There were Friends there too, whom I knew, but others, neighbours and family members, who I had not met before. I have not been a ‘party person’ but I found myself feeling relaxed and at ease at the prospect of meeting strangers. In fact it was enjoyable. Even having to own up to my past career, which has often been for me a source of embarrassment, was alright. Through the conversations, I discovered much more about my friend, whose birthday we were celebrating, that I could admire. 

One of the regular features of Area Meeting is an opportunity for different Friends to share ‘My faith in practice’. They have all been inspirational, and this Sunday was no exception. It was a quite short reflection of a ‘sabbatical’ from normal Quaker worship, which led to an appreciation of the variety that there is in different Meetings and a refreshing of personal faith. Sometimes, ‘standing back’ to enable a better view, a deeper examination of what really matters, reveals the beauty that can be taken for granted. 

Sometimes beauty is fleeting like the bluebell season, but at other times it takes a long time to develop and stays, possibly, for ever!

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