Many of us who are educators will often say we learn as much from those who we teach as we hope they might from us. I wonder how often those we say it to believe it! The picture is of a lovely gift I was given by one of our graduating students. I cannot imagine going through what she has been over the duration of the course. I am so full of admiration by her determination, her continued faith in God and her desire to support and help others. Today I am immensely grateful for the gift but more so for what I have learnt from seeing her journey from interview to completing the course.
If I had been on Facebook 25 years ago yesterday I may well have got a memory pop up. Paul and I went to Portsmouth for the 50th Anniversary of D Day. We had previously toured the different places in France that are part of the story as well as those which are in England and even Scotland where we saw the remains of a Mulberry Harbour block.
I cannot imagine what it must have been like and my eyes have been filled with tears as I have watched and listened to some of the coverage over recent days. We went 25 years ago to pay respects and to say we still need to remember.
I am so sad about the dissonance between some of the values expressed then and some of the values which are expressed now. A world at peace would allow for human flourishing, a world without violence would make a difference to the whole of creation. I am always aware that change has to start with me and that I need to show some of the courage that the men and women we have been hearing stories about demonstrated 75 years ago. We are hearing from the last few of that generation, let’s treasure their stories and wonder in what ways we can do our bit in trying to make a better world.
Last Saturday we went walking in Malvern and I filled my water bottle from this wonderful flowing water. Most times we come people are bulk filling with this pure tasting water – I wish we lived nearer. I drink a lot of water every day and am mindful that is a great privilege and turning on a tap and having safe water is not the experience of so many. I feel so much better staying well hydrated, I function better and it aids my well being. Today I am being thankful for the little things in life that I can take for granted and will make a donation to Water Aid to help others access water too. It goes without saying that I am most grateful to Jesus who is my living water which sounds a little cheesy but want to be public in my gratitude to God too.
Yesterday we launched our edited book on Paediatric Chaplaincy Principles Practices and Skills. It was over three years in the making and includes so many contributions from around the world with different chapter authors but lots of practice examples too. It is the first text book in the field. It is an immense privilege to be able to be involved in such a project and we are so grateful to everyone who made it possible. It was good to celebrate yesterday. A patient came and talked to us about her experience of chaplaincy, an atheist consultant shared his perspectives and, pictured here, Sarah-Jane Marsh, both endorsed the book and came and gave a really encouraging speech for the launch. God is good!
We were given these at Slimming World yesterday evening. I got the significance of giving us something just before Christmas to encourage us to keep on going. However, on looking up the meaning of the word mojo – magic spell or lucky charm I have some further reflections. In a tongue in cheek way I used to joke about waking up slim with good teeth and good hair! That for me would have been the magic spell way of losing weight – no effort on my part!
I don’t have any mojo to lose but perhaps what I do have to lose is a bit of motivation and the capacity to choose wisely or return to old habits I have learnt over the past year or so if new habits slowly lead me back to where I was in my before picture!
But taking mojo as a metaphor for motivation I want to keep it and this little bag is a great visual reminder that I have done it before and can do it again! I now have hope in an area of my life where I have had very little – I thank God for that.
Over the years I have accumulated a lot of badges and certificates for all sorts of things but I am particularly proud of this one – a target member of Slimming World. I have struggled with weight all of my life and have tried most diets going at some point in time. In October 2015 I finally decided I couldn’t do it on my own and joined Slimming World. Fourteen months later I hit my target weight having lost 4st 5lbs and I now have a BMI not in the overweight category!
The test will be what I weigh this time next year I imagine as I have lost weight before only to see it creep back on. Marie who runs the club I go to asked for a before picture and I found some of our silver wedding trip photos from five years ago – there is a big difference! Marie took a picture of me and then showed it to me and it sort of didn’t look like me. The booklet I was given talks about the mind catching up with the body and I know what they mean. I still have some work to do, some of my vocabulary isn’t great – I still talk about being good when what I mean is making healthy choices. I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have had from colleagues, friends and family and particularly to Paul who lets me have a bite of all sorts of lovely things when more than a bit isn’t helpful!
Winterbourne is a place of tranquility and beauty and I went there on Wednesday morning before heading off to Queen’s for my viva. I am grateful that I had somewhere to go which would ameliorate a bit of the anxiety I was feeling, I had read my thesis so many times that I had completely lost perspective on it. If you saw my facebook or twitter post you will know that it could not have gone any better. Five years of my life judged in an hour… Nearly 80,000 words on Landscapes of shame in the church: a typology to inform ministerial praxis. My pre and post ordination study in this one piece of work.
I am grateful for the many people that made what I did possible. I am most grateful to the anonymous people who answered one of my three questionnaires and were willing to share their thoughts and often experiences of shame with me. I began my thesis by reflecting on my own experiences so I know how painful it can be to be reminded of things which impact our picture of who we are, not just what we have done. Two focus groups also contributed deep insights to my model and shaped what I think about what it means to be a priest. And along the way so many people have helped in many different ways. I am so grateful, what I have done is so much richer because of them.