Maybe, from your window, you can see Mont St Michel, or the Statue of Liberty, or the Eiffel Tower, or the Harbour Bridge.  In Paris, after I left the Franciscans, I lived with Marie-Claire in a tiny “studio” in Pigalle, a former maid’s single room, seventh floor, no elevator (or even a lift !), with a view of . . . a brick wall !  Later, in my new career as a Director in a French multinational company, I had an unobstructed view of the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysées from my fourth storey office-window at the Place de l’Etoile.  Today, retired, I have to put up with just the Atlantic Ocean and Zeee Beeech as seen from the deck of my ‘ouse in Bidart.

There’s always something to see from the deck : surfers waiting for and exploiting the big ones, paddlers further out who seem to be walking on water, small boats and skidoos with the occasional tanker on the horizon, seagulls, clouds and, on the beach, suntaners doing sweet bloody nothing, others playing shuttlecock, kids throwing a rugby ball to each other, youngsters flying acrobatic kites while the tiny-tots discover what you can do with a bucket and spade in the sand.  Yesterday I saw a procession of old folks, trudging across the beach to delay the hardening of their arteries and their inevitable imminent immobility.  This evening I will see either a gorgeous sunset or a storm rolling in, complete with celestial pyrotechnics.  The beach provides an ever-changing free spectacle for the deck-set.

We all have points of view, by which we usually mean opinions, the way we see things.  Some people have a mind-set that colors their points of view, dominantly optimistic, for example, or pessimistic.  We inherit many of our points of view, notably in matters of religion and politics, but often change them when we learn to think for ourselves.

I’m glad I lived to experience many different views from my window, in all five continents, for different periods of time, ending up with my favorite, the ocean-view from my deck – where I am writing this on a cool autumnal morning.  I was fortunate enough also to have been able to change the points of view inculcated in me as a child and in my theological education.  “From Illusions to Illumination” : the title of my book sums it up.  I am a very lucky man.

                                            RIDENDA    RELIGIO

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