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  • Gloriously chaotic!

    This morning, we arrived at the hotel to discover it was pretty full of people at a conference - turned out they were international doctoral students on some kind of residential thingy - and knowing that we had to be out pronto sharpish to allow 'our' room to be used for a wedding.

    Despite having announced an earlier start time last week, it was inevitable that some folk would come for 11 a.m., and sure enough they did, arriving in dribs and drabs over a twenty minute period.  It was all rather chaotic but all very relaxed and everyone just took it in their collective stride.

    At the end of the service, I was able to give Bibles to some folk newly arrived in the UK in their first language - the look of pure joy on their faces was a delight to behold, and over coffee I could see them peeping at the first few pages, excited to hold such a precious book in their own hands.  Sobering and humbling.

    After coffee some of us took these folk for lunch - pizza and coke/sprite/orange - simple fare shared among people who between us represented a number of nationalities, and none of that mattered a jot.

    This is ministry at its best - muddled, chaotic, characterised by love and laughter and somewhere in the midst of it all our newly arrived folk found peace, security and welcome.

    A good morning.

  • It's the little things...

    Today, nine days after it was installed, my shiny new oven is working.  The fitters connected it all up, went to demonstrate it to me - and nothing happened.  They checked there was power reaching it - there was - shrugged their shoulders and left.

    Today, the first available slot arose for a repair man to come out... in under ten minutes he had identified and rectified the problem - a loose wire that he says was visibly not connected...

    So now I have a fully functional kitchen once more, with just some tidying and cosmetic work still to be done.

    And a reminder that details matter, and small things make a big difference - which is pretty much what Operation Agri want me to say on Sunday!

  • World Mental Health Day

    I'll be honest, although I've known about this date for many years, and have seen posts about it, it's never been one that prompeted me to respond.  Not because I thought it was unimportant - it self-evidently is.  Not because I don't know people who live with mental health conditions - I know plenty.  But because, if I'm honest, it never crawled high enough up my personal list of priorities.

    A couple of things have changed that. 

    The first has been comments by a small number of people that I should be grateful to have had a physical health condition that people care about, because for people with mental health conditions, it can feel as if no-one cares.  That was quite salutory.

    The second was the responses I've had, in life and online, since, back in the spring, I outed myself as taking anti-depressants to help with my menopausal mood changes... the Menopausal Monster who was always angry and hated herself.  I even led an evening service looking at mental health, which seemed to be very well received.

    To complicate matters, and as illustrated by my own experience, traumatic life events and stress can trigger or exacerbate mental health conditions, or at least lead to a degree of mental unwellness.  Oodles of cancer patients develop depression; oodles of people with depression get cancer - the two shouldn't be set in opposition by anyone.  Better to recognise the reality that for some people one or other will emerge as more significant.  And it's probably fair to say that people with cancer have more emotional energy to 'shout' their cause than those whose mental wellbeing is affected.

    I'd like to think that my, very limited, personal experience, and the relationships I've formed with others whose conditions are chronic and/or incurable have helped me to be more compassionate and understanding.