Quoting Blake from memory – being on a hospital bed in a hospital:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
A heaven in a wild flower;
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
is to remind myself of the glory that is everywhere around us in the present moment, but which is habitually dulled and dimmed by our routine preoccupations.
I experienced infinity and eternity myself last Friday when the consultant surgeon dealing with my case gave me permission to come off my drips for 3 hours and be taken home. Wow! Imagine: I have been in hospital for 5 weeks, and the last 3 weeks continuously – and now I could go home for 3 hours – but would have to return.
It was seeing my home, my front door, my hallway as it were for the first time. In one sense it was like my two cats: they gingerly approached, as if recognising me, but better make sure!
So, it was I sat in the garden – like for the first time. Laid on my bed – kissed my wife – all fresh, fresh as daisies. Found my study room and played the Tibetan Singing Bowl my friend Steve Feltham had given me: how its sound pierced me.
Below I sat and drank green, Sensha tea – and tasted it all for the first time. I tried to resolve never to forget this moment – never allow myself to become dull again – to always experience the small joys. Here was life – full and vibrant.
Pascal said something to the effect that all man’s evil comes from his inability to sit quietly, alone in a room. Yes, and to fail to notice the small joys that are so precious when your health and freedom has been stripped away.