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  • Disappointed

    Today the Glasgow 2014 ticket ballot for the Commonwealth Games began notifying people of the outcome... I got zero tickets.  I wasn't so fussed about the athletics or swimming but was very disappointed not to get in to the netball.  Evidently there is another opportunity to buy such tickets as are still available in the next week or two - presumably for the underwater basket weaving and other obscure/unpopular events.

    I 'get' that a ballot is differently unfair from a straight sales system, but it still leads to lots of disappointment.

    I know it's nothing in the scheme of things, and I can still watch on television, but I am disappointed.  The only positive spin on it is the money I've saved!!

    If anyone has managed to secure their tickets, congratulations, I hope you have a wonderful time - I'm sure you will.

  • On The Last Day of September...

    ... it is also the last day of my sabbatical.

    I still have a lot of writing up to do and not much time left in which to do it!  Plus as Monday is now once more my 'day off' I have arranged to see a friend on for lunch, so not much work happening today.

    If the purpose of the three months was to slow down and chill, then it has been largely successful

    If it was to enhance my spiritual disicpline - or a least find tools to assist I that - it has been an abject failure.  Except that I know I really do need to seek out a spiritual director, if such a person can indeed be found in this presbyterian nation!

    If it was to reflect on my cancer experiences in dialogue with those of others, it has been valuable and insightful - if not necessarily in the ways I had anticipated.  If my offer of a paper at the conference in New Zealand next February is successful then it will feel like a 'job well done'.  I think there will be stuff of use for both Baptist Unions too.

    If it was to learn from other churches, then it has been successful, both in what I set to discover and what I learned along the way.  And it made me appreciate my own church all the more.

    The last full week of sabbatical was a canal boat holiday with old friends who would not describe themselves as Christian or any other faith.  In some small measure it reflected the sabbatical - a slow journey out and back to where it began, times of stillness, times of laughter (and of conflict), too much food, too little exercise... and the joy of finally being back home where a very excited Holly Cat leapt into my arms and purred for Europe.  You can't beat sleeping in your own bed, and you can't beat being in your own routine.

    Tomorrow the six o'clock alarm will herald my return to work.  I fear I will not be as energised and holified as I or anyone else might hope - but I am ready to start back on the adventure I share with the Gatherers as we seek to play our part in God's mission and ministry in this time and this place.


    For the season of rest just ending - thank you God

    For the season of routine to come - thank you God


    For all that has been, thank you

    For what is to come, yes.

  • Body Image after Breast Cancer

    As breast cancer awareness month begins again in a couple of days, I am posting this video produced by Breast Cancer Care, which focusses on the topic of body image after cancer.  In a culture where we are bombarded by images of the body beautiful - or at least someone's take on that - here we are invited to see three women who live with the external and internal scars of a breast cancer diagnosis, and who have been willing to allow the world to see them unclothed.

    There has been a bit of unhelpful media reporting of comments attributed to Jennifer Saunders which appear to suggest that, bascially, we should just get over it and move on.  I think this a question I ask myself at least once a week - but the reality is that only now are the final stages of my reconstructive surgery complete, and I have ongoing drug side-effects which periodically necessitate medical intervention... it is not that easy to 'get over it'.  I do fear becoming a 'cancer bore' but if that boringness means one person gets treated sooner rather than later, or one person faces treatment with a teeny bit less fear or ignorance, then so be it.  Breast cancer is not a pink ribbon, but if it is a 'badge' then it's one I will try to use for good.

    Three years ago I was terrified, now it is 'just' a shadow that I notice sometimes more than others... perhaps it is my shadow which, contra Peter Pan, I cannot lose, and will stay with me so long as there is light.  But to live in the light, even with shadows, is surely to live.

    As well as the video, BCC invited a dozen or so women to contribute a "letter to my body" as part of the campaign, and I was one of them.  If you want to read what I wrote you can do so here (photo from my 50th birthday!) - but be aware it is quite explicit about the surgery I have had, which be tmi for some readers (though nothing inappropriate for a lady of the cloth imo).