Sunday, 29 June 2008

Flat out

Pretty much how it feels tonight after the week that was. Guide camp last weekend led into a week of fiendish activity, school award ceremonies, end of term services, presentations, leavers' events. All emotion filled occasions. And then a weekend of services that seemed like a lot of effort for little impact. The good thing is that we never know what fruits we sow and where or when the harvest will be reaped. And, in those times when we're wrung out, there's the assurance that tomorrow brings something new. We may be down, but not out. But it would be nice just to lie low for a while.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Laughing instead of crying

Spent the weekend at Guide camp. In spite of some torrential downpours and midgies with tackety boots on, we had a ball. One of the other Guiders sent me this pic - that just about sums it up. And, on a day charged with the emotions of saying goodbye to our local primary school and to my kirk session, it was just the tonic I needed. Incidentally, I'm the one flat on my back, helpless with laughter. Do you remember space hoppers - much more fun for adults!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


There is an energy about this time of year. Full moon, summer solstice and midsummer's day. Their coinciding brought freaky weather, especially for those sleeping under canvas. But also a dynamic that's useful for processing events and shedding wounds carried far too long. Cleansing rain, purging fire, refreshing wind, absorbing earth, embracing and disempowering hurt, allowing the capacity to move on with healing. The mystery of how this all works together is as old as time but no less powerful now as it was in the beginning. And the timing? The timing is just right - as ever.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Can't put it off any longer

Its time. We spoke to the removal man tonight. We have a date and a deadline.

My world isn't particularly ordered at the best of times. The thought of being surrounded by packing materials and boxes fills me with dread but also with the notion of possibility. I might just be able to get rid of some of the clutter that has surrounded me for the last 7 years. Moving here from a much bigger house meant that we had far too much stuff. Maybe now, some of that stuff can finally go. We haven't missed it so really we can't need it.

All this potential for de-cluttering is actually very liberating on many levels. Time to weed out those things that drain, the weeds that choke out what is good and life-giving. Time to leave behind the things that have weighed us down. Time to move forward unfettered into light. A date and a deadline - for new life. It makes the packing seem more palatable.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


I played in my final Inverclyde Academy music concert tonight before I move on to pastures new. I've been playing with the junior orchestra there for 6 years now and, my final concert, got to play with the first violins! I've always sought ways, as school chaplain to build relationships with young folk so that they don't see me simply as the person who's wheeled out for Religious Observance. There's a great bunch of staff and pupils and a wealth of talent in the music department at this comprehensive secondary school. I've loved being a part of it and hope that I can build similar relationships in my new parish. Tonight, though, congratulations to all of those talented youngsters and every blessing to those who are also moving on to pastures new: college, university and work. The future's bright with young people like those in it.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Letting go

This has been a week of "last things". Because terms are coming to an end, I've been involved in lots of meetings winding things up for the summer. For me, though, I won't be involved when the new term starts. A strange yet liberating feeling. Burdens are lifted. Excitement beckons. But it feels strange fluctuating between the liberation and the laying down, particularly when there is no one to whom I can pass on the baton.

And when I feel the ghost of loss, I have to remind myself that, this time next year, hopefully I will be just as involved in new situations and different opportunities. Endings are hard but in every ending is a new beginning.

Sunday, 8 June 2008


Worship was sooo difficult this morning. Its the last time I will celebrate communion with the whole congregation. Pretty moving stuff. As she left, one lady said she was really sorry to see me go. I responded that I was too. But she claimed that I couldn't really be all that sorry or I would stay. What do you do with that sort of logic? Just because I hate to leave, just because its painful doesn't mean that I shouldn't follow God's call and the challenge of something new where my gifts are required- and desired- in a way that they are not here. If I'd known how painful leaving was going to be I'd probably never have found the courage to do it. Fortunately God found other ways to nudge me on, even though that too brought its share of hurt. I'm looking forward to the change, but not dealing very well right now with the transition. 3 more Sundays to run the gauntlet! And counting.

Saturday, 7 June 2008


Oban was looking particularly beautiful last night with the sun setting over the cathedral. It seemed crazy to be spending the night away from home and computer when there was no sermon or communion liturgy prepared for Sunday. But, after a week of funerals and other draining demands it was the right thing to do. Sunday has this awful habit of coming around every week. I'm hoping that, with secretarial assistance in my new parish, I might be slightly more organised, and have Sunday done and dusted by Friday but I suspect this is just a dream, a cathedral I have built in my imagination. Can't imagine what I would do with Saturday nights!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Hope of the nations?

Thought this might be a good day to post a pic of my bug with the bumper sticker I begged (would have stolen) while in the states. Its proved useful in attracting strangers. Loads of folk stop and ask me about it - even a Canadian woman who called at the manse today looking for a tomb stone.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Leaving our mark

Just spent the weekend on retreat in the Kilmartin valley surrounded by a mind blowing amount of history and ancient civilisation. The valley is littered with centuries old stone carvings and monuments and tombs. Its wonderful to walk on sacred ground that was special to communities hundreds of years ago and is still enshrouded in mystery today. I'm thankful that we don't really know what the standing stones and stone circles and linear graves signified. Some things are not destined to be explained away but should always remain sources of intrigue. Its good to stand with our ancestors and share with them in awe the sacredness of nature and to accord their special sites the reverence they merit. And who knows, maybe something will rub off on us and we too will leave something positive and inspiring for those who follow in our footsteps.

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