Today I have travelled to Hull in East Yorkshire, some 150 miles North East of London, ready to work here tomorrow. It is a place I have never visited before – before arriving all I knew is that it had a fishing industry and when that declined in the 1970s, it became a place of high social deprivation. I knew that the Poet, Philip Larkin was librarian at the University and that many of his poems were inspired by his experiences here. Wandering around the city this evening I realise that there is so much more, and that that is true of everything, if only we but choose to look. This is the birthplace of William Wilberforce, who worked tirelessly to abolish slavery; the birthplace of Amy Johnson, the first person to fly solo from England to Australia. It strikes me that even if it is not their language, they all recognised their God-given gifts and used them. As I walked across the train station I started noticing the inlaid plaques in the floor; all extracts of Larkin’s poems. This one struck me:
‘What are days for?
Days are where we live,
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?’
What are days for? Days are for us to acknowledge the gift of ‘time and time over’, and to steward that well; when we come to the end of the day we can look back and account for our use of it. I think of the contribution those three people of Hull made – but we each have a part to play in the world. I was struck on the train journey by the varying attitudes of the people in my carriage – from the grumpy to the happy; the mean to the generous. Then this evening as I was walking, I saw these road names and thought how easily I can move from God at my centre to being negative and spiteful in Dagger Lane!
What are days for? To keep our focus on God and to live in the moment… To be conscious of the Trinity within us rather than the dagger…