“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 25 March 2016

Still Beautiful

The glowing orange roses I was given on Mothering Sunday have aged in an extraordinary way. They have dried up and withered, but have neither dropped any petals, nor lost their shape. Their colour has darkened from that bright silky orange to a rich old red with hints of dark yellow. They are old, yet still beautiful.

They were bought to celebrate my 25th year as a mother. Like the roses, I am older, a little more dry and withered on the outside. But they have taught me that I am still beautiful, and can still give pleasure. And that it is what is on the inside that matters.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Patience and Trust

As some of you will know, I have recently been called to be quarter-time minister at Northampton Unitarians. This has been a leap of faith on the part of the congregation - we are currently very small in number, but great in heart. We moved to a fine new building at the end of last year, and are hoping that the opportunities for growth from these developments will prove to be a turning point in the life of the congregation.

We have started regular Tuesday Gatherings, a different one for each week of the month - Discussion Group, Happiness Project Group, Meditation Group, Heart and Soul Gathering, and also regular Friday Gatherings to walk our splendid new labyrinth. Some people are coming along, which is super. It is early days yet,

But I am finding that, like Ce'Nedra in David Eddings' splendid books The Belgariad,  I am "not emotionally constructed for waiting." So it was good to be reminded that my focus has to be on my call to provide spiritual ministry in Northampton, and then to let go of expectations and outcomes. It is only three months since we moved in, and there is plenty of time yet for people to discover us, and the wonderful faith that is Unitarianism.

So I was so pleased to come across this quote, by Leon Brown:

"You cannot expect miracles to happen overnight. 
Be patient, be loving, 
and little by little the change you seek will come."

I am going to take this for my mantra in the days and months ahead.

Friday, 4 March 2016

A Break in the Clouds

I was driving back home from Evesham yesterday, when I noticed this dramatic sky ahead of me. It spoke to me so much that I found a parking space (fortunately I was on a dual carriageway, not the motorway), parked up, and took a picture.

I'm not sure whether it will show up on your browser / phone, but the contrast between the dark, rain-filled clouds and the brightness of the unchanging blue sky behind was remarkable to the naked eye.

In fact it reminded me of a metaphor much used by Martin Laird in his book Into the Silent Land, which is about learning how to do contemplative prayer. He says that our thoughts and feelings are like the weather, but that there is something deeper within, which is not affected by changes in that weather, that is deep, and luminous, and aware. Laird refers to it as a mountain, Mount Zion. Which is that-of-God within each of us.

Seeing that bright blue sky behind those menacing clouds helped me to understand that although our thoughts, moods, and feelings may change from day to day, or even from moment to moment, there is a deep, peaceful, sky-blue awareness behind and above them, into which we can sink, if we just have the patience to sit in silence for a while, and let our passing emotions do just that - pass by. It's not easy by any means - the chattering monkeys are loud and clear; the inner video is always there, ready to seduce our attention away.

But fleeting moment of peace are possible, and the knowledge that this deeper, calmer centre is there may help us in our everyday lives.. It surely helps me.