It has been hard to know what to post about or how in the last few weeks. My last post was about the beauty of perseverance – something which I have since been struggling to do!
Nevertheless, there has been plenty to think about, read and appreciate so here’s a gentle ramble through some of those things…
I’ve been reading:
- Daily updates on http://www.wordlive.org/Session/Classic. Each day I have opened this to find something that speaks directly into my situation. On a day when I felt threatened by someone else, I found this encouragement – ‘Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways …’. On a day when I had been to a funeral, I found this – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms…” And on a rather dark, self absorbed day, I found – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives….”
- This post: http://www.nishaantishu.com/2013/10/time-to-get-up-and-get-going.html which I found so encouraging. It was so lovely that Freya’s thoughts seemed to chime with what I had been pondering.
I’ve been thinking about:
Harvest Time! Where I live, there are allotments with huge fairy-tale pumpkins grown by our Vicar’ s wife, Lesley. All along the path, in fact, on either side, there are all kinds of produce – sunflowers that are just starting to go over, raspberries, carrots and any number of other tasty goods. All through the summer, Andrew and I have been enjoying a bumper crop of tomatoes and cucumbers grown on our patio, and on Saturday Andrew returned from our neglected and weed-ridden allotment plot with literally armfulls of potatoes, beetroot, and carrots. I was amazed! We had the most delicious roast dinner with my sister, which was so satisfying. At church, we thought about the creation story in Genesis when God made plants with seeds. In his creativity and care, He gave them the potential to keep growing and providing for us all.
Of course, Harvest also raises questions about the vast areas of the world where people simply do not have enough, and challenges us to share more and better. In our little group of 7-11 year olds on Sunday, we wrote to the girl we sponsor in South America, who is now 15, and it felt good to be connected with her in that small way.
Harvest celebrations have a clear literal meaning to do with crops and charity – but there is also a lot of encouraging symbolism wrapped up in this time of year. It can be hopeful to think that just as farmers pass through times of hard work and waiting, so we might pass through barren, slogging times into happier seasons.
Sunflowers in the September Drizzle!
I’ve been appreciating:
Other people. We humans are so clearly made to be part of communities. Acts of friendship and kindness have kept me standing in the last two weeks. Here are a few of those gestures, which I hope readers will find refreshing 🙂
*One friend of mine agreed to drive for over four hours with me on a dark, drizzly Monday night and even cooked me dinner before we left. Her son, who I had only met once before, gave us a drink stop half way home.
*I took a youth group to the Beacon Centre at Lee Abbey (http://leeabbey.org.uk/devon/) and the team there were so lovely. One person in particular was so sensitive and kind to me just in the quiet simple things that perhaps no-one else noticed. Her questions, smiles and helpfulness really got me through some of the trickier moments of the weekend.
*Another friend has this week given me a hug, chocolate, and tea – none of which should be underestimated! She has also shown seemingly endless patience with my grumpiness!
* Several people have sent us cards over the week – it’s so nice to receive things in the post!
* Every week, I work with around twenty volunteers who help with all kinds of activities like setting out tables and chairs, sweeping floors, serving drinks and food, setting up computers and sound systems and looking after children and teenagers. I am always so humbled that they would give up their time for these things.
*I went to a family funeral and was so moved by the togetherness and the thoughtfulness and the sheer effort that shimmered through the day. There was humour, the reliving and sharing of memories, compassion and courage. There were photographs, a hand decorated cake, a thoughtfully crafted eulogy, a sweet and simple speech by a young girl – all these and more came together to mark out someone’s life with the uniqueness and love he deserved.
My Ramble through my recent (rather jumbled) thoughts and experiences would not be complete without a few of the ‘Small Things’ that make life all the better. So here goes:
I’ve been watching Olympus has Fallen, a 24-style film which was terribly American-hero-ish but great to watch; I’ve been laughing at my dog Jamie; I’ve been eating honey roasted carrots and sweet potato chips; I’ve been visiting North Devon (aka ‘the Shire’, aka ‘home’) and I’ve been wearing gold autumnal nail polish. Ooh – and it’s hot chocolate season and I can heartily recommend Traidcraft’s Fair Trade Hot Chocolate 🙂
Jamie stuck in Andrew’s T-shirt 🙂