Friday photo – simple things

A lovely student arrived back from the coffee shop with a wonderful black americano for me in this cup.

Enjoying the simple things, noticing, naming and acknowledging them is a way of focusing on gratitude and punctuating the day with what brings you life.

For me they are things like the first hour of the day when I ground myself with spiritual practices and set up the day. Another is my first cup of coffee. Watching the birds on our feeders is such a joy. A daily walk is another simple thing I enjoy. My lunchtime bowl of home made soup is a simple meal but feels so nourishing.

What are the simple things which you enjoy?

Wondering Wednesdays – pieces of puzzles

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am reading through the final edit of a book I have co-written on liberating learning. This struck me:

                        ‘Everyone carries with them at least one and probably

                        Many pieces to someone else’s puzzle.

                        Sometimes they know it.

                        Sometimes they don’t.

                        And when you present your piece

                        Which is worthless to you,

                        To another, whether you know it or not,

                        Whether they know it or not,

                        You are a messenger from the Most High.’[1] 

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

I love this metaphor, we get all sorts of insights, encouragements, solutions, support and so much more from others. Sometimes we do not realise it at the time but they offer a piece of a puzzle which we are grappling with or which we are not even aware of. Our interconnectedness to one another is something I only grow in awareness of and am so grateful for those pieces of my puzzle that I have received from so many.

[1] Kushner, L. (1977). Honey from the Rock: Visions of Jewish Mystical Renewal. New York: Harper and Row.

Musing Aloud: we all need holding up sometimes

Can you see it?

There is a wire holding up the 2nd large limb on the right from the bottom. It is tied to the main trunk. You may have seen this before, it is very common in helping stabilise old trees. Sometimes a Y shaped post is used from the ground. It could be the branch has been damaged or grown to big.

Where ever the reason, we all need to be supported up sometimes. Moses’ arms were no different. Sometimes it is from above, the side or below. COVID-19 has taught us their is no shame in needing or asking for help or support. We have all been damaged and or getting old!

For it to work, it needs to be strong correctly positioned materials. Emotional string just doesn’t do it.

Remember, there is no shame, do it, with the best resources for the job.

Friday photo – path of light

I love seeing a path of light across the sea. Even more special when it.is moonlight but struggle to capture that on a phone and in the summer to be still up when the moon rises!

I have been seeing quite a few posts about paths recently and appreciating the way people are using it both literally and metaphorically.

What I realised commenting on one such post was that my path has remained quite similar in very many ways but the scenery has changed. Given a choice I would always walk by the sea but most of the time that is not possible and I have learnt to appreciate much more other landscapes too.

I have also been reminded of the Gate of the Year poem in recent days and appreciate Minnie Louise Haskins words about stepping out holding the hand of God. There are times when we see no light, they are the most challenging.

Wondering Wednesdays – on being strong

Comparison is invidious and admiration for being strong is one of those compliments which can also feel like pressure to keep on going when the energy isn’t there. Most days I feel strong, but sometimes circumstances combine and this is not the case. Sometimes I need to be realistic about what is going on and give myself time to breathe and grieve and regather my strength. As I posted on Monday as I pondered the Queen’s funeral and commitall, the first two verses of Psalm 121 which is included in the service: I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord,
 who made heaven and earth. Sometimes the help seems slower to come than I would like but I have faith it will come!

I find these words from Morgan Harper Nichols really helpful – she has a great Instagram account –

Not everyone’s strength looks the same, Sometimes strength is grasping on to a jagged trail on the steep side of the mountain, with icy rain on your shoulders and the wind on your back. Sometimes strength is continuing to push upward against the incline in pursuit of the the highest peak. It’s continuing the climb against heavy winds, as all of the travelled miles are wearing at your knees. Sometimes strength is waking up and choosing to breathe another day. Sometimes strength is getting out of bed. Your “strong” might not look like her strong and that is more than okay. You are not the same, so your strength will not look the same.

From All along you were Blooming Morgan Harper Nichols p114.

Musing Aloud: defender of what?

There has been some speculation that when Prince Charles, now King Charles III, would come to the throne, he would change his declaration of defender of the faith to faiths. This did not come to pass.

Our new King used the traditional words his mother used 70 years ago. This was a surprise as our new King, is known for supporting the multi faith and belief communities in the UK and Commonwealth. He declared in this past week that he identities as Anglican Christian, so stayed with tradition. As encouraging as this ownership of a personal faith is, I would not have a problem with a change of words. Christianity in the UK is a part of our heritage that we can mostly be proud of, but not always. Other worldviews have been making a valued contribution in the UK for many decades. Personally, I enjoy and am enriched by these communities within communities.

Our World needs people of influence to defend those around the world who are persecuted for their beliefs. I am pleased our new King will do this as a Christian.

God save the King.

Friday photo – first light

I get most days around 6 as I did yesterday. I opened the window where we were staying to see dawn emerging.

I love it when the first light is natural, as I write this before 7, it is in a room bathed with natural light, no artificial light is needed here. As the days get shorter I am missing that early natural light for my quiet time alone each morning. Autumn is gathering pace.

Light is used as a metaphor for so many things, one is knowledge. One of the early Bible verses I learnt off by heart was Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.

A first light for me can be when I feel God is saying something to me and I need to see how it evolves, perhaps how it grows brighter or even how I grow into it.

Are you glimpsing a first light at the moment?

Wondering Wednesdays – grieving as we need to

Sundial, time doesn’t stand still, we cannot pause it, those things we fear sometimes do happen and we face loss and grieve.

One of the things I am finding challenging at the moment is snarky comments, mainly on social media about how people are grieving over the death of the Queen.

Many of us may have experienced inappropriate comments about our own grief and losses over time. No-one knows what lies underneath a particular loss, it can be cumulative and one loss can trigger so many memories and thoughts.

I appreciate this from Bonnie Thurston:

Do not allow words to be imposed on you, platitudes of hope dispensed like spiritual aspirin by those who have not been there.

And if you are not grieving over the loss of the Queen that’s fine too as the monarchy is complex and can symbolise something very different to people with different experiences to me.

Grief is complex and best let out amd we sometimes never expect to be triggered in the way we are by big or even tiny losses.

Going the Distance: what is life for?

As we grieve the loss of our Queen, there are also many testimonies about her life. Whatever our feelings about the value of a monarchy, most would agree our Queen has given her life to the service of her country and commonwealth. This is indeed an inspirational example.

I heard a commentator make a social observation that this seems more unusual today as many lead a life to live for themselves.

I want to strongly both agree and disagree with this observation. As one who works for our National Health Service, I am daily surrounded by people who have worked 20, 30, 40 years in the service of others, in sometimes, very unglamorous roles. Today we also remember those who ran not away but towards the twin towers to serve, in the most sacrificial way.

This month I am celebrating 40 years in Christian ministry, 15 years in Youth for Christ and the last 25 ordained in the Church of England. I am not so naive, lack self awareness or arrogant that all the hours, days and months in all those years have been completely selfless. But my spiritual salvation helped me not to live life just to earn money. I am fortunate and blessed to enjoy my service.

A good test of a review of life is what would you do differently? For me I would like to think it could be, that not less service, but what a privilege I had, had more grace, kindness and less me.

The irony of course is that a good or great fit service also gives us life in all its fullness.

Thank you Queen Elizabeth II for your faithful Godly service. We promise you your legacy will live on.

Friday photo – thank you good and faithful servant

What other picture could I post this morning?

I am so full of admiration for a woman who responded to an unexpected call to service and who lived that out for 75 years. Two days before she died she was still fulfilling her duty. She has been Queen for all of my life, I pledge allegiance to her as a priest.

Most of all I have loved the very natural way she talks about her Christian faith, particularly in her Christmas messages. She is clear about the deep significance of that in her role.

I mourn much more deeply than I expected, another loss, another change in a period of uncertainty and challenge. I am grateful for my faith at such a time.

Image Darelle on Pixabay