But I am grateful that when I did get home we were able to sit and eat together as a family- a rare treat these days and one I treasure- I thought I would find being an empty nester releasing- and in a sense I have lived my life upside down- (children first then career)- but I am not sure it is so easy to let go... I am sure there are lessons there.
Where to first?
Silence- we held community silence for just over 24 hours- it was a precious time- I relished the chance to be alone with God- to just be- and be myself because my lips were sealed..
Interestingly although I often design and put together walk around prayer experiences like the one in the courtyard- I could not participate in it, I looked in several times but each time walked away...
1. I needed to be alone with God- he knew that, and I benefited from time spent alone and listening- I have been spiritually dry for too long- I feel full now- but it is bitter sweet- I marvel at how this awesome God can love me- I wonder that he would use me- and I am awed that the Holy Spirit would sweep through me- and fill me again, for I have been so far away.
I have written reams in a note book- and saved as word documents- and will try to work through them as the weeks goes on...
I find participating in the Eucharist almost finishes me off- I feel spiritually lifted and crushed simultaneously- the elements that have been simply that have become charged with meaning and giftedness- and I find it hard not to simply sit and cry at the wonder of it all. Trouble is I'm not sure when I would stop...
- The power of saying the creed together- there was a real sense of unity and purpose- Gods church laying aside differences and uniting under one mission ( we come from various churchman-ships- High- low- carpet crawlers!!!)
- Singing Wesley's O Thou who camest from above- especially verse 3
Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
To work, and speak, and think for Thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up Thy gift in me.
Glory to God- Peruvian Gloria- I found this incredibly moving, well led by Mike (Cantor) it was as if the whole community moved to Gods unforced rhythms of grace through it.
I am resolved to find space for silence- I need to allow God to speak.
I come away with challenges...
from Malcolm a question:
What do we believe God is like and how does this affect the way we pray?
From God and from Sheila- a challenge- I need to sing- crazy but true- I used to sing-and hymns at Primary School drew me towards the faith I now profess. The silence revealed my need to sing- to fill my voice with Gods praises. Loss of confidence (pinpointed by Esther) means I find it hard to join a choir-at any level. My lifestyle when I sang with choirs was not good- and though music saved me in many ways, it is hard to return to. I watch my beautiful daughters using their talents creatively and to the glory of God, and am saddened that I did not. Sheila challenged me to work it through! Thanks friend!
I have re-discovered poetry- I love the works of R.S.Thomas and they kept on popping up throughout the weekend. Also I started to write again- when I'm feeling brave I will share some- I am no R.S Thomas...
Esther's challenge I have mentioned in regard to singing - it came as a part of a " testimony" within a speech- she acknowledged that as a mother- and through being a mother she had lost confidence in herself- couldn't have said it better- I need to find that confidence- and for me as an adult for the first time (that's what happens when you have a child at 19!).
From Helen a thought about Spiritual Direction as Midwifery- that really resonated deeply with me- blood, gore pain and all...
From Mike a thought about roles and masks-he's got me thinking but I hope he will unpack that a bit more.
On a joyful note the two ERMC bloggers have persuaded a few others to join us- looking forward to welcoming; Sarah, Sheila, Andrew and Geoff to the blogosphere...