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  • Divine Mischief

    Yesterday I was chatting with someone about the wonderful number of students who landed at our doorstep over the weekend and the general excitement this had created among our people (rightly so).  She told me about the evening service and an example of the mystery and wonder of God's humour.  A couple of young male students had set off on Sunday evening to find a specific charismatic C of S church in town.  Getting well and truly lost, they landed on our doorstep just as this couple were passing on their way to the joint service with our local C of S.  Offered a lift, the lads accepted (pretty brave of them) and arriving at the service, one discovered he already knew one of our folk through other interests (cue spooky music) and then offered to collect the books after the service because that's what he did in his own church.  Wow!!

    The most heard comment from all the students over the weekend was that they felt welcomed and wanted - what more could we wish?

    Don't you just love how God's mischief makes more sense than our planning and fretting?

  • Exploring New Worlds

    If nothing else, the turn my life has taken is introducing me to whole new worlds I didn't know before.  It is an unchosen adventure, but it is not without its lighter moments.

    Yesterday saw the foray into the world of wig-buying.  Well, the NHS did the buying (and a scary amount of money it was too when I looked at the price tag afterwards).  The shop was one of those delightfully olde worlde places that is located on the fifth floor of a mutli-purpose building in a lane in the centre of town.  A lift carries you upwards from ground level and deposits you in a narrow tiled corridor facing a frosted glass door that would look entirely at home in a 1950s film set.

    But this is no ordinary lift, it is the old fashioned gated type, complete with jolly, uniformed lift attendant who announces himself as an angel descended from above to escort you on your journey.  It must be a strange job, riding up and down all day, waiting between floors for someone to summons you to take them where they wish to go.  He must see all manner of people riding upwards to the wig-shop, clutching their NHS vouchers and anxiously wondering what lies beyond the frosted glass door.

    So, the wig-shop.  Thankfully free of weird and wonderful theatrical oddities, it was far less daunting than I'd feared it might be.  The majority of items on display were remarkably ordinary, which was reassuring.  No bizarre shapes or colours, just fairly ordinary looking styles in normal colours.  Apologies all those who anticipated some wacky session trying on weird wigs, but that was never going to happen, and I'm glad the possibility didn't arise... my inner shy person would have simply crumpled.

    Amusingly, the background music was Katrina and the Waves singing Walking on Sunshine and it didn't take too long to find something I felt I could cope with - a bit lighter than my natural colour, parted the other side and with a hint of the Jennifer Aniston's about it, but overall something I'll be comfortable to have a go with.

    For someone who has never been bothered with hair and beauty, being thrust into a world of specialist brushes and sprays and goodness knows what else is quite an eye-opener.  I can't quite see me emerging the other side of this as fashion-woman (way too many more interesting things to do/be) but I am certainly discovering whole new worlds.

    And the divine humour of the self-professed angel and song playing in the background just made me smile.

  • As Others See Us

    Today I had an email from someone saying they'd like to be a fly on my wall watching me doing some nothing.  I wasn't quite sure how to react... especially as I spent half of yesterday lying on my settee doing precisely zilch...

    In the end I think it's lovely that so many people care enough that they choose not to trust me to do nothing... but actually I'm a basically an obedient child (which is why I usually get away with the times when I'm not) so please believe me that I am being good and will soon be qualified to update you on the most dire of daytime TV.  Now then... who's on Come Dine With Me today.... ;-)

  • Amazing

    It was an amazing morning at the Gathering Place today.  It's always good, pretty often great and today amazing.  We must have had at least a dozen new students with us, including one who returned having come last week and one who'd travelled in specially from Hamilton because of the welcome he'd received at yesterday's tea. Wow!  Now I'm not daft enough to think they will all return or will all find us as their spiritual home but do dare to believe that some of them will stay and discover the unique and special place that this is.

    Appealing to my sense of mischief is that at least one of them is called Catriona, which added to the three of us already linked with the church is an excellent sign of emerging world domination for this marginalised group! ;-)  Of course we do now all have to have epithets to distinguish us, not least as most of us use the same pronunciation.

    The call to worship this morning was part of the song Indescribable with its line 'you are amazing God'  And so God is, and so our morning was - to God be all the praise.

  • The Gift of Simple Things

    So much we take for granted - or I have tended to - when we are fit and healthy, or at least averagely so.

    After a month or so when sleep has been evasive, when there there was even a week of drug-assisted endeavour (of varied efficacy it must be said) I enjoyed the simple pleasure of waking up refreshed after a reasonable length of natural sleep.  Had it not been for a torrential downpour at about 4 a.m. I suspect it would have been longer and deeper.  I am always amazed at the ability of the human body to cope with temporary sleep deprivation or even quite radical shifts is sleep patterns but longer term this is not sustainable: it is vital to our well-being simply to get our natural rest.  So I am grateful for the simple gift of decent sleep.  May it continue!

    How often have I, in public prayers spoken of taken-for-grantedness of the abundance of food we enjoy in this nation, lamented the waste and extravagance and prayed for hungry people in other lands.  After a month when everything I ate tasted of cardboard (or how I imagine cardboard to taste anyway) and when it has taken triumph of intellect over desire to eat enough, or even to eat at all at times, it was a real gift to wake up hungry and want my breakfast; a greater gift to want both porridge and toast.  I am blessed to have well stocked cupboards, to have shops on my doorstep brim full of lovely food, but I am gifted with ability to prepare and eat it... how many people have no choices, no facilities, no extra to enjoy?

    Having found yesterday tiring, despite being very good and taking life incredibly easy, it is especially good to feel refreshed, yet there is a sense of apprehension that my energy levels will rapidly evaporate.  How long have I taken it for granted that I will be able race around doing all manner of stuff?  This is not some pious breast-beating, just the discovery of a new way of being, a way that will need some careful negotiation around OPEs.  For someone who is generally a rule-follower, despite being fiercely independent, the requirement to take things easy, not to over-stretch is one I take seriously... even if those around are less convinced... Maybe there is a gift of something or other here?  Perhaps all of us learning something about mutual accountability and trust... but whilst 'simple' those aren't so easy to achieve.

    So, today we have two sermonettes, I may sit down during some of the hymns and I have delegated the intercessions... sharing responsibility, being real and being flexible, these are gifts too.