Overnight, the weather’s changed from glorious to British. Here we are, clouded in hilltop mist, the rain having mostly stopped pouring, but its effect clearly visible in the changed colour of the garden soil. And didn’t that soil need rain! Sun and rain are the alternate weathers of this island, as a Primary School hymn used to remind us, and mostly we are good at living with them both; but the changeover point can be abrupt….
The priest and poet George Herbert, vicar of Bemerton near Salisbury in the 1630s, has been described as ‘the poet of the inner weather’. Sometimes his poems feel as if he is sure of the surrounding love of God, and enveloped in it. Sometimes they are bleak and despairing, as if God has deserted him. Perhaps, like Herbert, each of us veers from sun to rain within our own hearts? Variability seems to be part of our human condition; and this inner restlessness, thought Herbert, was designed into us by God, a way to ensure that we would seek calm and rest through faith.
Where do we go to in times of uncertainty? Only in God, in the depths of our hearts, can sufficient peaceful strength be found to cope with the ‘changes and chances of this fleeting world’.