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  • Less Anxious Presence...

    When I was starting out in ministry, there was a popular concept in the area of church health which was the "non-anxious presence", that is, the person (ostensibly the minister) who, in the midst of whatever change or conflict or circumstance, remained calm and unruffled and therefore enabled everyone else to feel that all would be well.

    A very wise, long-experienced minister, when sharing these ideas with us, said he did not think there was any such thing, because we are (or become) part of whatever it is,and of course have feelings, stresses and anxieties.  He preferred the term, 'less anxious presence', which is one to which I aspire... not denying the legitimate concerns of others and myself, but not being constrained by them.

    This week I have wound up having two the most stressful things in my personal calendar... a haircut and a  dental check up, thankfully not on the same day.  I don't know that I would ever have labelled what I experienced as 'anxiety' at least not in a medical sense, but certainly in the hours leading up to either I tend to become more tense and nervous, watching the clock lest I am late, and not wanting to arrive too early and be stuck in the waiting room.

    The difference is, that this week, neither was traumatic (maybe that's an overstatement!) indeed, on neither occasion was I nervous, anxious, stressed or any other negative emotion; rather I was totally calm and relaxed.  I was, if you like, a less anxious presence.

    I have to assume that this is an unexpected bonus of what I am terming 'Drug B' which seems to have wiped away my menopausal bad moods without turning me into a zombie.  Indeed, it would appear to have made me marginally gallus, as I actively sought a treatment plan from my dentist to replace some rather old fillings over the next couple of years!

    It's kind of funny to discover only by its absence just how significant that mild anxiety had been.  And I hope it's made me a little more empathetic to other people who might be similarly affected.

  • "Night and Day"

    Starkly different, as expressed in local idiom... that's my response to switching from Drug A to Drug B last week.

    After a month of being a sleepy, lethargic zombie, just five days into the new drug I am transformed!  I seem to have the benefits of not being irritable and grumpy without losing my joy and zest for life.  The new drug has no effect on the flushes or sweats, which are back to full force now, but, so far, I am continuing to sleep quite well.  Indeed, this morning, despite only having had five hours slepp (late night) I woke up ready to go and had to choose to stay in bed a little bit longer in order to rest!

    So far, then, so good...

  • Another Poem to Ponder

    Today's poem is by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis, and I love it....



    Two rivers deepening into one;
    less said, more meant; a field of corn
    adjusting to harvest; a battle won

    by yielding; days emptied to their brim;
    an autumn; a wedding; a logarithm;
    self-evidence earned, a coming home

    to something brand new but always known;
    not doing, but being – a single noun;
    now in infinity; a fortune found

    in all that’s disposable; not out there, but in,
    the ceremonials of light in the rain;
    the power of being nothing, but sane.


    from 'The Word in the Wildnerness' Malcolm Guite pub Canterbury p. 55

  • Lovely Day in Prospect

    Back in 2011, I met a young woman in her early 30s who had just completed her treatment for breast cancer.  Shy, diffident and very private; wise, funny, kind and generous, she was one of the first real world friends I made in this rather odd 'club'.  At the time, the 'baby' of our gang, we watched with baited breath as she began dating, offering the odd word of encouragement and some 'aunty' presence in the background.  Today I am really privileged and thrilled to be getting ready to go to her wedding along with the others who shared those early days.  Our 'baby' has found her life partner, is well and happy - what more could we wish for?

    This year I will be at in six weddings (two I'm conducting, four as a guest), each with its own unique backstory... I am a very fortunate woman.

  • From the ground there blossoms, yellow, hope...

    This afternoon I was up at church doing my weekly walk around, and happened to take a few moments to look at the bubls that had managed to survive some vandalism a few weeks back.  Now there are daffodils in bloom and more waiting to burst forth.  This is a wonderful sign of hope and brought a smile to my face on a rather wet and dreich afternoon!