Give to the winds thy fears;
hope, and be undismayed:
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears;
God shall lift up thy head.
Through waves and clouds and storms
his power will clear thy way:
wait thou his time; the darkest night
shall end in brightest day.
(Paul Gerhardt, ‘Befiehl du Deine Wege’ (1656), trans. by John Wesley (1739)).
I’d sung these verses from Gerhardt’s hymn during the service of Morning Prayer at St Padarn’s Church, Llanbadarn, yesterday. For those of no faith, perhaps these sentiments read like wishful thinking. The hymn describes a life’s-journey, wherein, on the one hand, trust, dependence, yielding, and commitment are the Christian’s moment-by-moment responsibility towards God. On the other hand, strength, provision, compassion, and oversight are His promised reciprocation. However, God’s ‘ever present help’ is not always sensible’; (which does not mean that it’s any less real) (Psalm 46.1). An awareness of God’s active agency may become beclouded by unfavourable circumstances. As these hymn verses testify, there’re times when, under heavy weather, anxiety, heaviness of heart, despair, and crippling sadness are the believer’s normative experience. God loves like a lover, and cares like a mother. Faith proves its mettle, and God demonstrates his consolations, most persuasively when every indicator seems to point to the contrary.
8.15 am: A communion, followed by emailification and teaching preparation for the week head. 9.00 am: On with the dedicated website for The Biblical Record CD. The design template must follow that of the sites for the previous two albums: R R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A and The Bible in Translation:
In the background, I fended off incoming missives. I’m increasingly aware that focussed concentration on research work period is getting hard to sustain during the summer vacation . University business never ceases these days. Even with the most astute time management, other peoples’ emergencies, meltdowns, and screaming demands seem to prevail. I noticed a THE tweet recently that suggested that academic researchers hadn’t a hope of maintaining a healthy work-life balance these days. There’s too much to do, too soon. The pressure to perform is alarming. I’ve seen the truth of it, in my own experience and that of others in my profession. Paradoxically, in the future, academia may no longer be the most appropriate or sane context in which to pursue academic practice.
Lunchtime. A harvest of garden broad beans (Surely, they must be for the this evening’s dinner table. Surely.) … :
… followed by some domestic sub-tabula fixation:
2.00 pm: It had taken all morning to construct a new logo based on the style of the earlier sites’ logo for incorporation into the new site, and to relearn the software environment for so doing. It was frustrating; but you can’t push a mule faster than it wants to go. Once the headers were completed, I began to establish pages for each of the compositions, in readiness for the infill of text which would take place over the summer period.
In order to get me out of the chair periodically, I prepared sound equipment for my weekend foray into the mountains around Abertillery. I don’t know what I’ll be looking/listening for. But I’ll know it when I see/hear it:
By the close of the afternoon session, I was in control of the site. What I couldn’t yet do, I knew I was able to learn to do. That was all I asked.
5.30 pm: Dinner preparations. ‘Yes!:
7.30 pm: An evening of remaking pieces of graphic furniture, in order to match the background tone of the new site. Thereafter, I began formatting the text template for the pages. Tiresome and monotonous work, but a joy when I get it absolutely right.