Friday photo – the sea remains the sea

I posted this 6 years ago and it came to mind today as I looked to find a picture and thought which encapsulated our holiday. I love being by the sea and our tidal Tamar view and it is so often a time when I feel close to God. I am blessed to be able to take such a break.

Dear Lord,
Today I thought of the words of Vincent Van Gogh “It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.” You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained, and to your love I am always called back.
There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love. My only real temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, to remove myself from the healing radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.
O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea.
Henri Nouwen

Go the distance – decompression

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The day before I came on holiday we were doing a session with some of our newly qualified nurses and we were thinking about how to deal with a bad day or week. We reflected around the question of how we can healthily decompress? At the beginning of a holiday it has been helpful for me to reflect on any need for me to decompress for the first few days.

I have spent a few days having breakfast out, lots of time by the sea, early nights and no work emails – my sort of decompression chamber. I feel better. Our prayer for you this summer is that you will find a way to wind down to make the most of your holidays.

Wondering Wednesdays – sit and stare


This is the view I see each October half term as we have a family holiday. I get to sit on the sofa and stare at the view as the sun rises – which at this time of the year doesn’t mean I am up that early!

Last night I had a bath and read some of a Ruth Rendell novel, I had previously had a walk by the sea and played golf with the adorable nephew. I am not always sure why I blog when I am on holiday, I do it in part because it is a spiritual discipline for me which gets me to reflect and at least identify something which I need to ponder on for a bit longer. In my term time life I don’t get a lot of time to sit and stare but I do need it to recharge and renew. It doesn’t have to be a pastoral scene like this – I could do the same with a city skyline, it is more about being still and resting.

Go the distance – different types of tired


I am going back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks holiday and I am an in worse condition than when I went. I ache more, hurt more, my hand is injured (hit by our new sea kyack), my hips hurt from lots of activity – walking, golf, trying out the new coracle, gardening, painting. But I feel great!

It is a different type of tired to when I went on holiday. That was weary tired, in need of a rest, needing a break. Tomorrow I go back limping to the hospital, unable to carry or work much with my right hand, but I am ready and looking forward to it. I am invigorated tired, hurt from enjoyment, recharging.

Perhaps a balanced life is the opportunity of having both types of tired. Holiday blessing, go and be differently knackered!

Friday photo – what’s the time?


Today our holiday is nearly at an end – if I blew on the dandelion today it would need to nearly all float away. I remember the simple pleasure of playing what’s the time with dandelion seed heads when I a child – however many puffs it took was the time!

Holidays are time for some of those other simple pleasures, paddling, skimming stones, eating an ice cream and trying not to let seagulls steal chips! It helps me to remember to hold on to some of the child like joy I used to experience when life wasn’t complicated!

Friday photo – little things

Coaster 2

When I think back to some of my childhood memories, the things that stand out are the little things. I don’t know if my parents were conscious of the idea of memory making – I hear it talked about much more now but perhaps that is a youth worker thing… All my vivid pictures are of things like picnics or fishing and other sporting things, being got out of bed at my cousins to see a partial eclipse…

This summer I have enjoyed some of these seemingly little things: hitting the golf club my adorable nephew told me to hit and doing a much better shot than my choice would have led to; playing with god children at Kingsbury – watching them feed the birds, take risks on play equipment; sitting watching swallows playing in the eaves of where we were staying and watching egrets roosting in the trees; browsing round a local art fair on Bodmin admiring the creativity of others; worshipping at the riverside chapel… These are the things that have nurtured my soul and spirit – little things which really are big things.

Go the distance – mid year resolution


Sally and I have just had a wonderful holiday in Cornwall. I was ready for it, it has been a very busy and full year so far. Like many people it took us a few days to wind down and we had a few things to deal with while we were away. Although we plan our holidays about a year in advance there are other factors in having a life and ministry that tries to reflects the principles of our website – marker posts and shelters for a healthy, effective rule and rhythm of life.

The solution is to seek to live my life that I don’t desperately need my holidays to come along. That my life in between is lived at a pace that when my holidays come along, I am “oh that;s nice”, rather than “oh at last”. This would seem to be a symptom of a more balanced lifestyle that would be healthier and more conducive to wellbeing. One of the ways I am going to do this is not to work less hard but to work more wisely.

Wondering Wednesdays – mystery of creation


This quotation from Columbanus (an Irish Saint living in the 6th – 7th centuries) is particularly apt for holiday time when I get to spend so much more time outside appreciating the many mysteries of the universe. There are so many things either I didn’t learn at school or I have completely forgotten like how the moon and the tides work, geology and rock formations, the power of currents which move swathes of stones and sand so that every day the shoreline is different and why there are so many amazing colours in the sky at sunset (this picture taken yesterday at Kit Hill)…

Kit hill sunset

I am also amazed how although there are so many things we do know and can find out through typing a few things into google, nature can still be a mystery. It perhaps sounds a little sad but most days I listen to Farming today on Radio 4 between 5.45 and 6.00am and on Mondays there is a five day weather forecast – this Monday the forecaster admitted that it wasn’t fully clear – the computer predicted lots of different possibilities. Although in my regular work life I am quite planned, organized and structured I also appreciate the seize the day nature of holidays where what we do can depend on weather, times and tides and our plans made the previous evening can change as we see what each new day holds!

Friday photo – Ailsa Craig at sunset

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My favourite sea views often have islands in them, this is one of them. The Ayrshire Coast, a place I first went when Spring Harvest was in Ayr many years ago and Paul and I were on the team. Now we go every couple of years to play golf and enjoy the scenery – my other favourite view here is the Turnberry lighthouse. This week I will have seen it up close as I have played the Ailsa course – a week with a different pace of life, a different set of challenges to the day and an opportunity to re-create.