Many years ago I worked in a ‘Subnormality Hospital’ as they were called in England, or as this one was called in Switzerland, an Asylum. The men and women who lived there had often been committed by their parents who had been told that they had no place in society, but would be happy and safe in the asylum.
There was a young, international staff who were gradually changing the regime, recognising the human potential going to waste. Many of the people I would meet at L’Arche Kent in the early days had spent long years in such places.
Martin was around fifty, but looked older. Shortly before I arrived he had gone missing for three days and nights before walking back, very tired and hungry.
‘And do you know where he was, Maurice? He doesn’t talk about it any more, but he took a promenade in the woods, and spent those days and nights watching a family of fox cubs. Their mother seems to have known that Martin was no threat.’
Half an hour sitting still and quiet in Canterbury Cathedral is pushing it for me! Make that a quarter of an hour…
Martin found his own chapel in the Cathedral of the Forest and was like Wisdom at the Creation: at God’s hand, observing and enjoying creation. A personal Pentecost.
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived. neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out:The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world.
When he prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass he enclosed the depths: When he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: When he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when be balanced the foundations of the earth; I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times; Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men.