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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life

  • A Surprisingly Significant Moment

    This morning, after I got home from my daily walk, and before I had breakfast, I took my last ever Tamoxifen tablet.  Of course I knew this day was coming, had even been counting down to it, but didn't know how it might/would feel to be here.

    I was surprised how significant it felt.  Indeed, having snapped the photo above, I paused for a minute or two to reflect, with gratitude on this simple, inexpensive drug that has protected me for a full ten years.

    Gratitude to the scientists who developed it.

    Gratitude to the women who took part on clinical trials.

    Gratitude to the licensing authorities that approved it.

    Gratitude to the NHS who prescribed it.

     

    I also took a moment to call to mind those absent friends for whom it was unsuitable or ineffective... too many women taken far too soon by a cruel unpredictable disease.

    I took a moment to call to mind those friends/acquaintances who will never reach such a milestone, because, whilst treatable, their cancer is incurable.

    I took a moment to call to mind those friends/acquaintances who aspire to a similar milestone moment.

     

    To have reached this place, to cease to be classed as a 'cancer patient' (at least in a few weeks following one last mammogram, the appointment for which also arrived today) feels quite special and very privileged.  Of course, I will always be subject to 'with your history' provisos and protocols; it is still entirely possible the cancer will come back to bite me; but for now I feel very blessed and very grateful.

  • Lent Reflections - 5 - Daffodils!

    This morning's early walk included the first sightings of daffodils (other than bunches in shops).

    Sometimes known as Lent lilies because of when they flower, they really do herald the spring with their cheerful heads nodding in the breeze.

    These, and others I saw today, are miniatures, the tiny little ones that bloom whilst the standard sized ones are still tightly furled in green protective layers and reaching for the sun.

    Perhaps we all need some miniature daffodils, small, early signs of hope that assure us brighter days are coming.

    We are already a sixth of the way through Lent!  Whether it is 'going well' or it's a 'hard slog' at least we can share the joy of the daffodils along the way.

  • Lent Reflections - 4

    So much for regular posting in Lent!  A mix of reasons, partly, and, more significantly, I am not really finding either of the Lent books 'scratches where I am itching' so, rather than inspiration or contemplation, they are leading to irritation and disappointment.  There was a time when I'd have plodded on, stoicly working my way through, determined to find something - but not this time.  If the past year of strangeness has taught me anything, it's not to spend my time on things that don't, in some small measure, bring me life, energy, joy, fun, challenge or some other active and positive response.  As the saying goes 'life's too short.'

    To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong or inadequate about the books, they just don't 'do it' for me.

    A week since Lent began, a lot has happened to occupy my thoughts and my time, and I feel that I have been playing catch-up after my short break. 

    In the nine days since I posted this  the friend with a new prmary diagnosis has been rediagnosed with secondaries, the person newly diagnosed with secondaries is really struggling, and the person with progression died very suddenly and after a positive Covid 19 test.  Each of these remind me of the fragility and preciousness of life, that we really do need to live each moment.

    Some days of course, just getting through is as a good as it gets, but giving ourselves permission to abandon things that don't give life seems healthy.

    So, apologies to anyone who was looking forward to me sharing Lenten thoughts with you based on these books, it isn't going to happen.  I will keep reflecting and posting during Lent, just not every day, and not in a systematic way.

    Take good care of yourselves, and stay safe - the spring is coming!

  • Hope

    This week, I spent a couple of hours prayerfully stuffing envelopes.  Or at least, holding before God the people whose names I wrote on the envelopes.

    Having recently completed a preaching series on the topic of 'hope' it seemed right to offer something tangible.  The stones are delightfully smooth to the touch, and the words from Jeremiah an important reminder of God's faithfulness.

    In these ongoing times of challenge, may our hope be active and may our hope be strong. 

  • Lent Reflections - 3

    Sacred Space today focussed on Matthew 9:14-15, where John's disicples ask Jesus why his followers don't fast when eveeryone else does.  It's a curious thing to ponder at the start of the principle fast practised (in theory anyway) within Christianity.

    This year, I am struck by the, completely understandable, reluctance of people to abstain from chocolate or alcohol or social media at a time when life is hard and monotonous.  Similarly, whilst there are any number of creative and interesting Lent resources and groups to connect with, there is a degree of fatigue and fedupness that makes them less attractive.

    The last time I abstained for Lent was 2010 (something I had done every year since 1978!) because, arriving at the start of Lent 2011 having just come through chemo etc., I felt I had done quite enough abstaining, thank you all the same. I think that this year, other people are discovering the same.

    Why aren't (some/many) of Jesus' disicples fasting/abstaining?  Because, frankly, the abstentions begun last Lent are still going on, and we really don't need any self flagellation to add to the mix. 

    ~

    Thy Will be Done moves swiftly from patriachal language to the inadequacy of all language to describe God or to express prayer.  We know that, we've heard it countless times before.  But sometimes we also need to be freed from the (self-imposed?) tyranny of getting the words right and allow ourselves to concentrate on the mystery of this God who seeks relationship with us.

    ~

    Can I hold the two together? Can I weave a thread between them?

    Perhaps it's simply this - that the God who loves us is more interested in keeping relationship with us than whether or not our spiritual disciplines and practices are perfectly honed.  Perhaps we should allow ourselves to snuggle up on God's lap (as per Psalm 131) and simply to enjoy being held safe for a while.