Cormorants dive deep to find food so you often find them drying their wings which get waterlogged. I admire their elegance and this one caught my eye as it was on a lake in the Midlands, not by the coast. I am looking forward to having time to dry my wings this weekend, by which I mean recuperating from some of the challenges I have faced in daily life this week. This is a theme I return to often in this blog, the importance of a Sabbath, a rest, following the example of God who looked at creation and declared it good and rested. The idea of sitting gazing at water and birds like the cormorant is very appealing and hopefully water and birds will feature in my resting!
I left for work at 6.15 yesterday morning for an 830 meeting with colleagues, thirteen hours later walked out of the car with dinner to eat before we even unpacked! With a head full of complex thoughts to process it was wonderful to come to this place of peace ans be nourished by food, wine and rest in a place which is good for my soul as I wrote about on Wednesday. We are also nearing the end of Paul’s birthday month and enjoyed a beautiful bottle of wine Paul was given by one of his team. I feel blessed as I wake up in a place of peace.
On Monday I bought book and read it with the benefit of a coffee shop break and a train journey. This was one of the phrases that hit me. I find that I sometimes rest in ways that are not always restful, being distracted by social media or having a mind full of all the things I could be doing. This book reminded me I need to try to find life giving moments or occasions of rest and that my rhythm needs to be a bit more mindful in this area. That means reading more books hopefully as that is a way I have always been able to rest.
This is the second version of this blog – wrote it on phone but it disappeared and was published as a title only – an interesting title for that to happen to!
Justin Whitmel Earley The Common Rule IVP 2019 p148. The book isn’t a cultural fit for me but had some useful reminders and some fresh things to think about.
I have chosen this picture for today because half term beckons. I am not sure we will make it here but the picture speaks to me of rhythms and timing and adventure and fun! It is the causeway to St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and we have spent many happy hours watching the tide come in and out and even walking through the ebbing or rising tide. It is also a metaphor – as so often my pictures and reflections are and it will be good to have some time to think and pray and listen as well as rest and regenerate.
I was introduced to a framework similar to this by a fellow Chaplain, Mia Hilborn, on our last Paediatric Chaplaincy day. The fact I still remember 6 plus months later what she said suggests something resonated and stuck and she explained the need and difference to first recover before recreating after difficult crisis situations. This week I am trying to take them in some kind of order and not expect too much of myself early in the holiday as I take an afternoon nap.
If you are on holiday this week or shortly, I pray you find time for all these aspects. And be gentle with yourself in the mean time.
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.
Paul and I stood looking at this heron in the river at Bude asking if it was real. It was slightly deeper in the water than we usually see herons and it was so amazingly still. Eventually it started to move and we were clear then it was real!
I envy that capacity to be that still, at the end of a busy post holiday week – always plenty to catch up on I hope to take an hour or so today to be still, reflect, recharge between two lovely appointments – through skype and in real life!
Writing this is also in part being publicly accountable to actually doing it rather than just thinking about it!