Saturday, 31 October 2009

Unexpected bonus

Today was a glorious autumn day, far too good to get on with indoor tasks. The day has given way to a clear night with a good, bright moon for all the trick or treaters. But I'm looking forward to tomorrow - the beginning of another season celebrating the saints.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Beach time

Spent most of today at a family funeral in St Andrew's. The beach, as always, looked very inviting but there was no time for a walk. Must return soon and make the time.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Chill out

We host a monthly Taize service. It's good to continue this traditional style of worship, that originated during World War 2 in France. It's good to sing the simple chants and pray for peace. But the best bit of all is to just sit quietly for half an hour. There's just not enough opportunity for that in life.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Life is not a rehearsal

He would be 25 now. Instead I stood at his grave this morning with his mum, saying a prayer to mark the 4th anniversary of his death. And I marveled at this very intimate moment that I was allowed to share. Amazing and humbling. Amazing to be asked to "say some words" when folk are so overcome with grief that they cannot begin to describe. Humbling to be privy to the face behind the mask that is normally donned for the outside world.
Life is not a rehearsal. We either seize the moment and live life to the full or live with the regrets of missed opportunities.
Finding the end of the rainbow is a life long pursuit. Meantime, along the way, there are many stops and starts and twists and turns, each one offering opportunity, a gift of God.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

New Tricks

it's alright, it's okay
doesn't really matter if you're old and grey
it's alright I say it's okay
listen to what I say
it's alright doing fine
doesn't really matter if the sun don't shine
it's alright I say its okay
getting to the end of the day
High tech, low tech, take your pick
you can't teach an old dog a brand new trick
I dont care what anybody says.

The week ended on a high note yesterday when I had the honour of being involved in a wedding ceremony.
There is nothing finer than celebrating love, especially when that love is mature and growing in folks who have seen a bit of life, who have known hurt and loss yet are not afraid of commitment.
This job is so unpredictable and always full of wonderful opportunities for learning.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Don't drop the coffin

I'm watching "Don't drop the coffin" a documentary series on TV about the work of a funeral director in London. There's always a lot of humour in the programme - as there has to be in that line of work to offset the sadness that also comes with the role. It fits the bill for me this week after a week of funerals.
Today, as we took a detour on the way to the graveyard so that we could pass the farm the grieving family had farmed for over 30 years, it seemed that even the cattle shared our sense of loss. One of the calves turned his head mournfully to watch us pass. It makes sense to lay folk to rest surrounded by the peace and beauty of creation of which they too have been a part. And, no matter how much sadness builds up when funerals come, as they often do, in batches, it is such an honour and a privilege to simply be there for folk and to be allowed, even just for a short time, to be a part of their lives.
A gift from God.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

In sickness and in health

Married a lifetime
rubbing along together easily
instinctively knowing the other's thoughts
predicting their every need
sharing unconscious intimacies
that come naturally
through sharing so much
from the springtime of youth
to the autumn of age.
Settling comfortably
into a pattern
that is at once
familiar and love filled.
And then a brain attack
creeps in insidiously,
certainly not welcome
and changes the whole fabric of life
the being
the doing
all the mechanics of everyday
irrevocably disturbed.
But not the love.
A love so deep
cannot be undermined
or weakened
No catastrophe
can reach in
and steal.
Even sadness
and pain
cannot erode
a channel of love
furrowed so deep
through the years.
What a privilege to witness
such love and such caring
such selfless giving
Something so real
it can withstand the strain.
That is the power of love.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

One of these days

One of these days, I'll be able to ease gently back into work on return from holiday.
One of these days, other folk will have picked up on the slack.
One of these days, there will be space to ponder the benefits of being away and harness the energy of recharging and move lightly forward.
But, until then, I'll surge back into the melee and pick up all those balls that have crashed to the ground and quickly forget that I am dispensable.
But, until others see that too...
One of these days...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Pilgrim Door

Just finished reading Through the Pilgrim Door, an account of a journey in Pioneer Ministry by Michael Volland, who blogs here. It's a book you will want to zip through and then return to from time to time, filled as it is with rich nuggets of wisdom, humour and grace.
I first "encountered" Michael a couple of years back when I was going through a particularly dark time in ministry. I stumbled across his blog on Fresh Expressions in Gloucester (feig) and was buoyed up by the hope that, even in the institutional church, there are alternatives, that church doesn't have to be a place of hurt and longing but can be loving, affirming, organic and exciting, a roller coaster journey fueled by God. To read his story of an adventure with God, arising out of a very traditional setting where imagination and creativity were allowed to flourish really is a story of hope for our times and a real encouragement for those of us who seek to be involved in alternatives alongside traditional church. Michael has moved on, interestingly, to be involved at Cranmer, a college where ordinands are formed. That has to be good news for the C of E and, of course, students of any denomination who study at Cranmer. Feig also continues to develop and grow.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Travels of the heart

We found this microlight on the beach when we arrived. The pilot had stopped off for lunch. Seeing his craft seemingly abandoned in the sunshine made me think of one of my favourite story books: The Little Prince. I wonder if this pilot has had anything like the adventures that the little prince had? Or met nearly as many tragic people? Or revealed so many innocent truths? The Little Prince is a story to be read with the heart and not with the head - maybe a way in which to read much more of life.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Does this make me a bad person?

Sitting on the beach. In October. In Scotland. Probably a sign of global warming. But I'm loving it.

PS Haven't figured out how to upload from mobile, so here is a late addition: Kilbride Beach, Argyll, October 09.

Friday, 9 October 2009


I've just completed a 6 week mission intro course, hosted at the Howard Centre in Kilmarnock. One of the things that dawned on me while doing this was how much I use this online blogging community as a big part of my support network. So it was good for those 6 weeks to be accompanied by a bunch of real, live, like minded people - not like minded so that we all agreed with each other, but like minded so that we could journey together towards a common goal, with all our differences.
There will be the opportunity in the new year to explore mission shaped church in more depth. While I know the value of accompaniment on these journeys, there is another part of me that gets weary of talking about it and just wants to get on with it. I know the value of the discipline of reflecting on the journey but doing that in a structured and formal way puts pressure on the journey itself. What should I prioritise? And where is God prioritising mission in this community?

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Ancora imparo

Anstruther was looking particularly beautiful yesterday even though it was hard to stand up straight in the gale blowing. I was there to discover the Enneagram. Well worth the two and a half hour drive and the early start. Looking forward now to doing a bit more reading and going a bit deeper. Always something different to learn. The spice of life.

Thursday, 1 October 2009


Tomorrow (2nd October) is world smile day. Just as well it wasn't today. I caught an early morning train to Perth. My laptop and my mobile and my i-pod and my book saved me from having to interact with the passengers around me. I feel smiled out this week, trying to rise above some nonsense that is being played out and preserve my integrity and professionalism, taking the moral high ground. But it's tiring teetering on the edge - and pretty lonely. Hopefully I can do better tomorrow. Indulge in an act of random kindness - give someone a smile.

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed