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  • Dumbstruck, yet needing to Speak...

    Events of the last week have left me increasingly lost for words, yet, I am regularly reminded that saying nothing isn't an option because it tends to be seen as at best indifference and at worst collusion or endorsement.

    It seems to me - maybe wrongly - that nothing I can say adds to what has already been said about actions of the US President or (the inactions of) the UK Prime Minister.  It's a statement of the beeping obvious that this is wrong, unjust, inhuman, stupid... but if I don't speak it out loud, am I somehow complicit?

    The photo above is one I am currently using on social media.  This morning I added a 'Jude' star to it.  It's no secret that I am, by bloodline, 25% Jewish, that under the Nazi regime I would have been an ideal guineapig for medical experiments (had I ever been born - my 100% Jewish grandmother and 50% Jewish mother would probably have been exterminated).  Back in the 19th century, my Dutch (and Spanish?) Jewish forebears arrived in Britain, a place of comparative safety.  At the start of WWII, my grandfather moved his entire family from rural Buckinghamshire to Glasgow because he feared for their safety if Hitler invaded.  I expect, whatever our own racial or religious heritage, most of us have refugees or marginalised people in our family trees who have left their homes and sought shelter elsewhere.

    To say nothing, is not an option.  To say something is essential, even if we don't quite know what to say.

    Over the last 24 hours I have "liked and shared" and I have "tweeted"; I have signed petitions; I have prayed; I have felt impotent and incompetent, but I cannot not do something, I cannot not say something.

    So, two little bits of stuff to ponder!  Firstly, what I wrote on my social media post when I added this photo...

    I am Christian

    I am Jewish

    I am white

    I am British (English)

    I am woman

    Above all, I am a human-being


    And then, far more eloquent and timeless, the famous words of Pastor Martin Niemoller

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  • Catharthsis...

    Over the last week or so, I have been sorting through the stash of craft materials that has lain under the desk in the room that is now my office for the last few years.  Via social media, I have managed to give away, to people who will put it to good use for nurseries, children's clubs and charity projects, the contents of four very large plastic crates.  I have also cleared out three big storage boxes of random electric/computer stuff, about half of which was chucked out, and most of the rest will probably follow suit as no-one wants it.  Today it was the turn of my cookie cutties to face the cull, hence the photo above.

    Sorting and photographing the various items brought back many happy memories of the people, places and projects for which they were purchased... whether it was baking with 'Splorers, 'Messy' Christmas or Easter services. or contributions to charity fayres or bake sales... these memories are precious and priceless.

    What has surprised me, though, is the sense of cartharsis that has arisen from letting things go... things I have kept 'because they 'will come in usesful one day' and also 'things people have given me so I have to keep them because of the love, kindness and generosity they have shown...'

    I don't think I'll ever become minimalist, or for that matter tidy, but in giving away things that have given me pleasure and now might do the same for others who choose to take them, I am finding, to my surprise, that I feel freer and happier, and that has to be a Good Thing!

  • Good Night

    Yesterday evening was our monthly Deacons' Meeting, and it was my turn to host, so we had the added presence of two feline observers, one of whom worked her way through the contents of both milk jugs (good job we'd all had a cuppa by then!).

    For good reason, the meeting was substantially longer than usual, and we had a lot of material to work through, so by the end of it, and having cleared up, I was pretty much exhausted.

    During the meeting, we laughed a lot, we discussed a lot of matters, we agreed on stuff and disagreed on stuff, we expressed frustrations and concerns, we tended to a few formal/legal admin matters that needed us to vote (all unanimous), we explored new ideas and remembered those for whom we have pastoral responsibility.

    At the end of the meeting I was exhausted, excited and energised - which as 'three alliterative headings' is not a bad way to be!

  • Resistance is... well, not futile anyway!

    Some readers who know me in real life, but probably not that many, will know that I have recently begun a course of physiotherapy for something with the rather grand title of "greater trochanteric pain syndrome" - which roughly translates as "extremely painful hips, located mostly in the trochanteric bursae but not necessarily true bursitis"... so now you're as wise as I!

    Anyway, after two months of exercises to address the resultant back pain and begin to strengthen my glutes, yesterday it was time to step up the resistance, and I was handed two strips of 'resistance band', one yellow (the least resistance) and one red (the next step up) before being told "and there's green, blue and black still to go"!

    Obediently, then, this morning I completed both sets of exercises using the yellow band... and now have one decidedly sore hip (the other less so) - I obviously overdid it trying to go straight for the full set of 10 reps of one and 50 reps of the other exercise!

    Which seemed to me to be a not bad analogy for some of the thinking I've been doing about prayer... there can be a temptation to plunge into a new approach and then find ourselves overwhelmed by its demands, possibly risking doing oursleves more harm than good, or at least thinking, as I did this morning, oops that was too much, too soon.

    Fortunately this pain in the hips is nothing serious, even if it is annoying, and I know that if I persevere, little by little I'll move from yellow to red to green to blue to black... probably more exercises 'for life' here: should I ever end up in a care home I'll be the little old lady with a gym in her bedroom!!

    As for the prayers - next stop is PAYG, sitting in a chair with good back support!!

  • Trying to Fit In!

    The photo above is the epitmome of cuteness - Sophie, who is quite a petite cat, has discovered that the basket on top of my staionery cupboard makes a comfy bed.


    In this photo, Sasha, who is quite a large cat, is depserately trying to fit into the same basket - it looked so attractive and she spent a long time trying to get comfy before she abandoned the effort and headed off for her favourite office chair instead.

    One of the things I've been thinking about, and hopefully encouraging others to think about too, as we've looked at the topic of prayer, is that it's OK to be who we are, and that we don't have to try to squeeze ourselves into a space that is comfy for someone else but doesn't fit us.

    A bit of 'pop psychology' around Myers Briggs personality types and Transactional Analysis, some parables and other teaching on prayer... hopefully it has been helpful for other people; I know that it has for me!