Originally collected as a series of 'thoughts for the day' on RTÉ Radio 1's 'Living Word' series, each of the reflections in this beautifully presented giftbook are ordinary moments with extraordinary meaning. A thought-provoking collection that invites the reader to find solace and meaning in the muddle and mystery of daily living.
A beautiful and wise book on the holding and letting go involved in family lives. – Spirituality, July/August 2015
Wisdom is shared in conversational style, though poetry is not far away! A small parcel truly full of good goods. – Religious Life Review, September/October 2015
Dr Anne Thurston is a theologian, writer and a contributor
to religious journals. She is a regular contributor to A
Living Word, RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘thought for the day’ broadcasts.
Married to RTÉ Lyric FM broadcaster Tim Thurston,
she is the mother of three adult children, and has three
A beautiful and wise book on the holding and letting go involved in family lives. Small Wonders recounts 'journeys from birth through the teenage age years, then the giving birth as a mother and departures by her daughters and, finally, the deaths of her own grandparents and parents, as hands which once embraced and united are disentangled in a final letting go'. In a delightful and diversified way she gives examples of the vital role of touch in human lives. From the holding of new babies at home and at Baptism, to the skilful arrangement of flowers, and the all important motherly activity of baking bread, she sums them all up in a striking injunction. Of course it's possible to use a machine to bake bread, she admits; but that by-passes the sensuous feeling of kneading the bread. For babies and flowers and bread, as for so many other human activities, she writes in an acceptably commanding way that 'You must use your hands'.
In addition to the domestic and family situations mentioned above, Anne Thurston also writes lyrically about the world of sea and dolphins, about the beauty of birdsong and the haunting cries of migrating geese, about the colours of flowers and the 'Paul Henry blue' of a hillside. She also asks that children be opened to the world above and beyond the Earth. She writes, 'Pity the child who has been brought to see the Christmas lights but has never stood still and gazed at the stars. Pity the young person for whom stargazing has nothing to do with the night sky'.
At times her writing about nature and domesticity evokes that of Seamus Heaney. But, even more importantly, this is a woman's book: that of a mother, grandmother, and wife who has a PhD in spirituality. And she, not surprisingly, draws attention to the graced women in Scripture, to wondrous births, and presents the usually denigrated Martha in Luke's gospel in a new and creative way - as musician or poet.
– Denis Keating OP, Spirituality, July/August 2015
Much of what is here is material that Anne wrote for broadcast on Irish radio, in the early morning! 'The Living Word' is the title of what is still effectively a 'Thought for the Day' (its former title), and there is much that is remarkably lovely here. Her skill combines an attentive viewing and noting of what is taking place before her/our eyes and a wider vision that enables what is local and temporary to join a pattern that is divinely imagined and can inspire one long-term. In 'love letters','baby talk' , 'instructions for parents in the month of June' and so many others, wisdom is shared in conversational style, though poetry is not far away! A small parcel truly full of good goods.
– Religious Life Review, September/October 2015
In our lives, we all experience seemingly ordinary moments that take on deeper meaning. They cause us to pause and reflect, and grace our lives with brief flashes of insight and wonder. Small Wonders: Stories of Love, Loss and Letting Go is a collection of these moments from noted theologian and writer Anne Thurston. Arising from contributions written for the ‘Living Word’ series on RTÉ Radio 1, they reflect life’s patterns of chaos and calm, and invite the reader to find solace and meaning in the muddle and mystery of daily living.
Seeing the Geese
It was December – one of those bright crisp days. We were doing that annual duty of Christmas shopping. I remember that I had bags in both hands, because I wanted to point to the sky and I had to put them down.
We were on our way home, exhausted, as you are when you’ve made the twenty-sixth purchase of hat or gloves or book or CD or tasteful bauble or bangle that you think your third cousin twice removed would really like for Christmas.
We were heading for home.
None of this really matters because it was then I heard them first. I looked up, and flying above the city streets were hundreds of geese. They were probably on their way from one feeding ground to another – it was lunchtime after all. I called out in surprise and delight. We stood still almost in the middle of the road, oblivious now to everything but the geese brushing dark wings against the blue sky. We watched as flock after flock passed by in their distinctive V formation with that characteristic cry, which now we could make out clearly, even above the noise of the traffic. Like a street evangelist I wanted to tell everyone the good news of what I had seen, but all around me heads remained lowered and people rushed on, unaware of the wonder above them.
Exhaustion forgotten, we boarded the tram.
Now, one year later, I cannot remember one single thing we bought that day. But I remember the geese. I remember the joy, the utterly unexpected joy of seeing them there high above the streets, stringing out across the winter-pale sky.