Time to tread water…

Water off a duck’s back…

I’ve not blogged for a few weeks as I had a writing week (for my MA dissertation research), then a week of leave to rest and recharge. Amidst the rest I met this lovely duck as the sun went down one evening. She was swimming with her 11 ducklings, and yet she had such a sense of calm around her as she trod water, and stayed visible as her ducklings zoomed around excitedly. She seemed to feel the smile of God shining down on her; so assured of herself and her focus in the sacrament of this moment. It made me question, is it any wonder that I so often feel overwhelmed with so much going on in my head, rather than focusing on this moment, this sacred space and just deal with what that presents…? Is it possible to live within this simplicity and the sacrament of now, whilst also managing to achieve all that needs to be achieved?

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Is this the end of the line…is it time?

They say it doesn’t have to be this way…

Here lies a moment to pause, to think and reflect as I try to work out whether it is a full stop or semi-colon moment – is this the end of the line…is it time? I’m not like everyone else, see. I don’t have the confidence to be the success I dreamed of in my infancy…I don’t even have the motivation to try anymore. I have lost my fight, and certainly don’t have the right to claim any position or status here.

Is this the end of the line…is it time?

They say it doesn’t have to be this way…

It doesn’t have to be this way…but how can it all be okay? I feel overwhelmed and ashamed of all that has gone before. I’m not like everyone else, see. I don’t have the strength to fight…I’d much rather take flight. Running though, as I have learned, fails to reach resolve – everything seems to find a way of catching up in the end. Those other semi-colon moments wreak regret, see…

Is this the end of the line…is it time?

They say it doesn’t have to be this way…

Is it time to change, to become more long-range? To look beyond, rather than remain trapped within…crushed and submerged by all that is negative in me. I want to change, to move outside of myself, but it’s so hard…it takes such courage, and impossible to do alone. I’m not like everyone else, see. I’m not strong enough to be me amidst a sea of thee…capable, confident and in control.

Is this the end of the line…is it time?

They say it doesn’t have to be this way…

I’m not like everyone else…who is this everyone else? These people who have it all sorted, who fall into the life they desired and dreamed of? The perfect people with perfect parents, perfect places and perfect prospects…I thought they were everywhere but as I tentatively reach out from this hole, this pit of despair, there are a few more who understand; they get it…

Is this the end of the line…is it time?

They say it doesn’t have to be this way…

It doesn’t have to be this way…

It’s a semi-colon, not a full stop

As it is Mental Health Awareness Week, I have been praying for those who are struggling at the moment, particularly with our semi-lockdown state. This is a piece I wrote a while ago in relation to the symbolism of the semi-colon.

Glimmers of God…

Blue bells seeking out the sun

Where have you seen glimmers of God today or this week? In the raindrops which quench the thirst of plants and flowers perhaps? Seeing an arid field begin to produce? A rainbow amidst the sun and rain…God’s reminder that God is faithful….

Curiosity

Some days I feel like there’s nothing to spark curiosity, interest or excitement…today is one of those days. Surely I’m not the only one to have a bad day in lockdown?!

Share your stories of glimmers of hope/God…?

Space to notice…

We seem to have been adopted by a hedgehog! Maybe she has been here for some time but life has been slow enough for us to notice her…. #lifeslittlegifts #tinyjoys

Fire gazing…

This evening I’ve been fire-gazing…in my view one of the most ancient forms of prayer! I invite you to get lost in your own thoughts with God our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer at your side as you gaze into a fire, sit with a cup of tea or just watch the sun goes down….

Glory to God, Source of all Being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

#Grateful…

Grateful for tea!

For some reason today has been difficult…I feel like I’m really struggling with aspects of the lockdown, and trying to work as normal. I think this is inevitable, it perhaps just hit me later than it has others. I also think that’s what prayer is about; owning how we feel in this moment, and just ‘being with’ God. This was so much easier with a cup of tea in my hand, and I came out of that time feeling grateful for tea and time with God!

An Altar in your World…

“Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it.”

Barbara Brown Taylor: An Altar in the World
‘Let my prayer rise before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141’

Inspired by the call for church to change, and by Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar in the World, I have been pondering what an altar in the world might look like. This morning I saw a gorgeous robin stood on our patio table just surveying the space; it felt like beautifully hallowed ground! This morning has been somewhat cooler, but the other day I was sat in the garden praying, and the birdsongs took my attention – it was like they were providing the heavenly worship as I communed with God. It was one of those moments that I would love to put in a bottle and cherish.

This morning as I spoke with a parishioner on the phone, I asked her about how she was. She said that she was lamenting ‘church’ which for her is dedicated time to commune with God and fellow Christians. In the next breath she told me, ‘of course I have an altar at home,’ and went on to describe what that looked like, and how she used it. She was so animated when speaking about the space which for her was ‘holy ground’.

What does your altar look like? Is it a space in your home which you have dedicated to spending time with God, or somewhere you came across completely by accident? How do you use this space?

Last summer I was at a conference where the middle of the chapel had a huge square of sand. The sand was blessed, and we used it in various ways for each time of worship we shared in. At one point we were asked to take a jar of the ‘holy ground’ and spread it around…I found sand all over my suitcase when I got home, but there was something poignant about that holy ground seeping into everyday life. How does holy ground make its way into each part of our lives? How do we make sure all that we do takes place on holy ground?

Clapping for NHS Workers

Small things feel very moving at the moment…the solidarity around an appreciation for those who are working so hard, often in very difficult circumstances, was huge this evening. I’ve not seen people out of their homes, on their drives, for some time now…of course observing the physical distancing! We applaud you, and we thank you!

Beauty is….

So far, summer has not afforded me as much opportunity to get out and get lost in photography as I would like. That said, I have recently been thinking through what beauty is…what it really is, not what we see it as from so many areas of society which wish to control what we want and how we look.

A few months ago I spent a week in Portugal and had the privilege of getting lost behind my camera, which was so refreshing. As well as the obligatory holiday snaps though, I wanted to capture a different view of beauty…

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This was the view from our hotel room…I found it bizarre that each day these were the items which were hung to dry, and yet I saw something of beauty in the simplicity of this display.

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We met a couple who were making their living through this art; one would paint the rocks the other would arrange them. Their messages were simple. For me the beauty was in the way they were seeking to challenge and their understated way of offering this to the world.

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I had never been so close up to even one peacock, let alone whole families of them. Here the beauty was in what had not been previously seen, as well as in their inquisitive charm!

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We had not been aware that it was PRIDE on our first day in Lisbon. Watching the parade come through the city was incredibly moving though. Again the beauty was in the simple sentiments, such as ‘Love has no limits’.

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Beauty as attraction! In the square bubbles were being blown and flying off in all directions due to the wind. It was so simple, and yet fascinating to watch them, wondering how long they would last, where they would land, when they would burst.

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Beauty in the simple solutions, in that which is old, or distorted by rust, beauty in that which many would not notice, or is the beauty in the blue backdrop?

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Beauty in the warmth of the evening, beauty in the sunset glow.

Whilst I am not sure I managed to capture a different view of beauty, I see this as the beginning of a conversation, which I invite you to join in with. A conversation where we capture beauty in all of its awe and wonder, beauty as breath-taking because of its freshness, not as perfection but rather as imperfection, beauty as that which is not known, beauty as something which allows us to glimpse the Divine in the everyday.

Please share your images of this kind of beauty in the comments section to enable us collectively to rewrite the meaning of beauty, so that our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews and grandchildren can grow up being released and liberated by its definition, rather than constrained or imprisoned by it, afraid to go out, to wear what they really like, or to be truly and wonderfully who they are!