Christmas Day, 2011
On Christmas night, I received a most blessed visit from a noble knight. Lady Sharon of the Knights of the Pain Table graced me with a long phone visit. We are almost half a world away from each other; but on Christmas Day, that distance dissolved when my telephone began to ring. At once, I was at home in Camelot.
It is a mysterious thing— that spiritual bond that exists between knights and the kingdoms where they dwell. Although we are four thousand miles apart, Lady Sharon and I have journeyed together for several years. We have shared a kinship of written words and exchanges; but on Christmas night, it was the sound of Lady Sharon’s gentle and lovely voice that delivered deep and true companionship.
British Columbia to North Carolina
“Oh! You have an accent,” Lady’s Sharon’s responded to my welcome.
“It is good to hear your voice,” my reply.
Indeed, it was good to hear Lady Sharon’s voice for the first time. Throughout our phone visit, I was mindful of the tone and timbre I had only heard before in Lady Sharon’s written voice. The sound was just as I had composed in my imagination – like that of a wise and gentle soul, a homing cadence, the sound of true north. How else could I have imagined the voice of one who has touched many folk who struggle with pain?
Lady Sharon and her Knights of the Pain Table refuse to fall to the darkness of pain in all its forms by embracing inspiring a Code of Honor:
Courage of the Heart
To attempt to never lay down arms even when the foe is merciless. To know when to surrender.
A Knight must see into the heart and know that the edge of the cliff may hold wings.
To know they are never really alone.
To feel the touch of tears.
To show kindly forbearance toward any person or creature, that are in one’s power, for a Knight has had to live at the mercy of pain.
Using discretionary power, to show compassion with attitudes and words even to one’s offender, especially those who do not understand.
To uphold nobleness of mind, character or spirit at all times.
To remember even when alone that one has the virtues and duties of a Knight.
To make meek one’s heart and be courteously respectful to all.
To give in any manner without the thought of return.
To have the wisdom to see that to give to another is to give to one’s self for all are connected.
When one cannot see in the forest, the heart feels the cadence of the voice in the dark, and with bravery the Knight follows in silence.
In times of great distress, to see the droplet of light in a bucket of sorrow, and weave that into one’s armour with cheerfulness.
To be fair and not judge others.
A Knight knows that to falter is human and to hold out a hand sometimes will strengthen the weak.
To be faithful to one’s self. To do no harm to one’s fellow Knights.
The miles between us disappeared. In Camelot on Christmas night, Lady Sharon and I sat by a warm fire with a cup of mead and a chalice of treasured companionship. It was a gift, an unexpected blessing, an affirmation that the same grace surrounds us even when we very far apart.
The Feast of St. Stephen, Dec. 26
Fittingly, today is the Feast of St. Stephen—a day to reflect on the quiet courage of a messenger of wisdom and spirit-light. I recall the story of Good King Wenceslas, the knight who “looked out on the Feast of Stephen” to see a poor soul struggling against the winter elements. It is said that his compassion for others melted the very ice and snow on the ground as he walked about with alms for poor folk on winter nights.
“But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.” (Book I, Chronica Boëmorum)
Today, in homage to St. Stephen and Wenceslas, I offer a votive of thanksgiving for the kindness, gentleness, and generosity of a noble knight’s visit to me last winter night.