A couple of weeks ago I published my review on Jennifer Flander’s excellent book Balance: The art of Minding What Matters Most. This week, whilst researching Victor Hugo, I came across a rather wonderful quote of his that I have been contemplating all week. “To put everything into balance is good; to put everything into harmony is better.” * I was actually trying to find the original French version of Victor Hugo’s poem goodnight – which is a short verse I have learnt and use as part of the evening blessing routine.
The idea of the evening blessing comes from Sally and Sarah Clarkson’s book The Life Giving Home. This is a wonderful book that I am working my way slowly through this year, and my current action to embed is speaking morning and evening blessings over each child.
In the morning I only have a quick simple verse of my own – “Good morning, Good morning, A new day is dawning, May God bless you today, as you walk in His way.” However, armed with the help of a Ted Hughes book on helping you to write your own poetry, I plan to soon have a better version composed.
I am currently using the Numbers blessing in the evening:
May the Lord bless you and keep you,
May He shine His face upon you and be gracious to you
May He turn His face towards you and grant you peace. Amen.
Followed by this:
Good night, good night,
Far flies the light,
But still God’s love
Shall shine above
Making all bright,
Goodnight, good night.
by Victor Hugo
I was searching on the internet to see if I could find the original French poem as some translate the line ‘Shall shine above’ and some ‘shall flame above’ and I was wondering what the original French was… [I didn’t find the original French, unfortunately, as I only have the poem in collections of poems, not in the original volume as published by Hugo. So, please do comment below if you know where I can get the French version from :-).]
Returning to that Victor hugo quote, my thoughts have turned out to be quite simple, although also incredibly profound. To begin with, it comes back to unicycling! My unicycling is going well and I am improving, but not really quite as quickly as I hoped for (although of course, I’m learning patience!…) This morning, Mr T made a great comment, “It is more than just learning to ride, it is about becoming one with your unicycle. I have noticed that the really great unicyclists I watch on youtube – they are totally relaxed and seem like they are at one with their unicycle.” Is it not the same with our heroes in life? Don’t they seem to have found a place beyond balancing all they have in their lives like spinning plates, but on another level, which is total peace and ‘oneness’ with God – what I understand Shalom to mean? I don’t mean they are perfect – but to use Sally Clarkson’s words – “Rarely do I meet women who are unburdened, who choose to live in grace, freedom and beauty. But when I do I feel that I have been in the presence of Jesus.” (page 79 Own Your life).
An area that can be a burden for me, is controlling my tongue. I have improved so much over the years, but I am still far from the ‘perfection’ that James describes in his letter in the Bible. The morning and evening blessings are the life-giving first and last words I speak to my children each day. If I want to fill the day with life-giving words also, then I must be on a journey to find a way, not just to balance all the parts of my life into a whole, but to be in constant harmony with the Holy Spirit and being guided by Him in all I say and do. Easier said than done, but this work-in-progress is determined to give it a go!
Be encouraged 🙂
* Quote from Ninety-Three (Quatrevingt-treize) (1884) as translated by the A L Burt Company (1900) – Mettre tout en equilibre, c’est bien; metre tout en harmonie, c’est mieux.