I can’t resist including this verse from John Donne’s lovely poem, ‘Sweetest love, I do not goe…’. He compresses into this one verse our capacity to try and hang on to thoughts and experiences we label ‘good’. We always fail of course, and the second half of the verse expresses our skill at feeding and hanging on to thoughts and experiences we label ‘bad’.
O how feeble is mans power,
That if good fortune fall,
Cannot abide another houre,
Nor a lost houre recall!
But come bad chance,
And wee joyne to’it our strength,
And wee teach it art and length,
It selfe o’r us to’advance.
As we shall discover in the next few weeks, Jesus teaches in the sermon on the mount that letting go of thoughts and experiences (whether we label them good or bad) is the key to the kingdom: a key which lies in our hands, not Peter’s.