I couldn’t let the death of Queen Elizabeth to pass without writing something in response. Yesterday (the funeral day) was incredibly moving and marked the pinnacle of the last 10 days of UK (and beyond) history in which people paid deep respect, honour and gratitude to 70 years of unwavering service.
There is so much I could write about, so many moments witnessed of love, unity and honour, so much that happened that was rich in symbolism and hope. The Queen continued to love and care for us even beyond death which was evident in how the day unfolded and the content of the funeral of which she was responsible.
There was one theme that stood out to me from yesterday which has been repeated many times and that was the acknowledgment of her dedicated service and devotion to the call that she accepted all those years ago.
I recall images of the coronation service at Westminster Abbey and have always been moved most by the un-televised part where she went to the alter dressed in plain white, without crown or adornment and prayed – alone – her heart I suspect deeply connecting with that of her Beloved’s. I wonder what words were exchanged? I imagine her offering her devotion in that moment, an offering of a lifetime of commitment, a taking up of the cross that was hers to carry. At that time she would have known little of what that call would cost her, what it would be like and how often she may need to remember those moments at the alter as a way to stay committed to it.
I consider my own life and what I know I’m called to. I reflect again on what is mine to offer the world and what is not. I connect with a desire to stay true to what is mine to do, to be free to live out that call in the way that only I can, to be loyal to my heart and what it beats for.
Courage is needed to heed the call, to say yes to it and to keep saying yes. It’s a vulnerable thing to do, it asks of us integrity and commitment. It invites us to listen intently to what is ours to do and in doing so say no to other things. It may ask us to be unpopular, to go against cultural expectations, to choose a narrow way when others want us to walk somewhere different. We may need to be still and silent enough keep listening to the small voice within that will tell us which way to turn. We may need to stay constant as we walk through times of the foggy unknown when the call seems lost and we have no clue what is ours to do or which way to turn. We may need to return to the alter of remembrance when we’re tired, restless, bored or disillusioned – when the call has lost its passion.
I’m sure the Queen wavered at times, that she struggled and experienced the fullness of what it means to be human and offer herself to the world in the way that she was called to. I’m sure she tired of it all, I’m sure she had to galvanise herself and offer her love when she didn’t feel like it.
To heed the call, to stay true to it and to keep moving forward regardless of where the path leads is a risky, exposing thing to do. I know though, that I would rather risk it all, say yes and walk one step at a time than let fear or doubt hold me back. I return today to my alter, to my yes, I welcome the inspiration the Queen has given me. I honour hers as a race well run and hope I too will cross the finish line knowing I listened to the small voice within and said yes.