Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee; Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man. These words by Gerard Manley Hopkins from his poem Carrion Comfort are from a person firmly finished with the negativity of life that has led to the precipice of despair. In fact, this poem represents Gerard Manley Hopkin’s struggle with depression. Death and despair are for him closely related, and in this poem Hopkins rejects suicide as the answer to his despair. Having finished a year where I heard the word “unprecedented” more times than perhaps all other years of my life combined, there is no denying that for us collectively, all around the world, this was a very hard year, 2020.
This past Sunday was the fifth anniversary of my father’s death. And Facebook pleasantly (if not creepily) reminded me of this event. And as my father died from dementia, I was happy to see so many happy photographs of my dad. It reminds me that as we enter into these last few days before Advent, it is as if we are getting little reminders of the key events of the coming of Jesus. We will hear today’s gospel again on Sunday, for example. But it is also a reminder that God continually is coming into our lives. When are the moments you have felt so clearly God’s presence in your life?