These are my wedding and engagement rings. I cannot remember how many years it is since I last managed to get them off my finger! Thank you Slimming World! If you look carefully you see that they are no longer round, they have been distorted through the years and taken on the shape of my fingers. Apart from the six months of my engagement I have worn both rings every day and they never did get taken off even when they did slide off relatively easily. I love my simple rings and don’t mind them being misshapen as that’s what life does, one person’s misshapen is another’s better fit, they are now clearly my rings – perfect for my fingers, no one else’s. I struggle to value my uniqueness some days but seeing these rings afresh helps to remind me.
I took this photograph this week as I left home early in the morning for work. The combination of the web and the dew caught my eye, so much beauty and intricacy that happened by both intention and chance. The beauty of their creations means that I admire spiders, I don’t particularly like them but I don’t get freaked by them like I do when a mouse appears. There are so many connections I can make looking at this picture but perhaps the thing I want to take away today is the connectedness of life and the blessings of what seem like quite random connections at times. I had a brief conversation with someone I had never met about metaphors and chaplaincy – uplifting, hopefully for both of us.
We saw this stained glass window on holiday when it was so much easier to resonate with the Mary role. Now I am back at work I need to resist being too much the Martha in this story although that is not an easy task for me sometimes when there seems to be a multiplying to do list. I am posting this to remind myself that sitting and spending time with Jesus is a good thing to do and that when I do that some of the other stuff gets put into better perspective.
If I were to make a long list of things I wouldn’t expect to find in a Chapel then quail’s eggs should surely be on it! Each summer Birmingham Children’s Hospital does a project over the school holidays, this year it is these amazing eggs which are being incubated in the hope that they will hatch and they will then spend a week in the Chapel before going to a good home!
There are all sorts of activities associated with the project – a quiz, making quails, a quail mask, story of God providing manna and quails in the wilderness etc, egg and spoon races (not with the real eggs though!). As I was in there yesterday a couple of children came in drawn but the posters around the hospital. The eggs evoke curiosity and wonder and provoke conversation about many different things. A sign of new life in the Chapel, perhaps an emblem of hope and an opportunity to reflect on fragility, growth, the vagaries of nature and many other things. It is great being part of such a creative team!
I wore my sticker with pride for the rest of the day! I look forward to hearing some of the stories of what the chaplaincy team get up to with this!
One of my favourite childhood memories is going for a walk near home and picking up acorns and seeing the wonderful little cups that held them. Perhaps even more fun was seeing squirrels pick them up – storing food for later. The phrase ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ seems apt for summer where little acorns can be seen as memories that are planted and which can grow and nurture us over the years. Memory making is a key element of what youthworkers and families do and if we look back, there are things which have shaped us and changed us and which have helped make us who we are. Sadly, not all memories are good and some of us have experienced things which have made life more difficult for us and the same little acorns can grow into oaks which overshadow our lives and which we need help to chop down.
This poster was on the wall as I was leading a focus group of siblings who had a sick brother or sister. Two of them jumped up and took one of the little strips of paper. We were in the spiritual care room at Uffculme, it was one of several resources available for whoever came in.
What do you need today?
You can just spot Paul’s arm at the edge of this photograph – he was pointing out seals. They were amazing as we gathered for communion on Cuthbert’s island – some of them looking more like dolphins and them seeming to respond to our singing of gather around and be thou my vision. One of the precious things about being on retreat with a group was the shared noticing. In our times of walking, reflecting the insights of others helped me to see God more clearly. We paused on our pilgrims’ way walk, we shared each evening with wine and nibbles and in times of prayer, over meals… Seeing God through the eyes of others helps me to see God in a fuller, more rounded way. I am very grateful for each person who was with us on the retreat, I have come back a richer person.