I blow the dust off the keyboard. Sit down. And start to type.
The choice lurks. To continue
with a style of slow.
Or to find the chatty voice,
the recaller of time and space which I have inhabited, dwelt in
throughout this month.
I blow the dust off the keyboard, sit down, and start to type.
It’s too hard to keep up that style of writing, so I’ll go on with a good old Friday round up style, my traditional space for reflecting on the week just gone.
It’s been a month or so since I wrote, and whilst that might be good on one level, I call myself a writer and the whole deal with being a writer is that you write. So here I am again.
I hesitate to name it out loud but I’m pretty sure this January was one of my best on record (see other January blogposts for the record). I’m not a frozen tree frog anymore (read that post if you have a small baby or toddlers, it gets better, it really does..). I haven’t drunk my way through many bottles of wine to survive this month. I haven’t bemoaned my existence for more than about a day or two and all in all it’s been a surprisingly ok time. The grey murk hasn’t helped much but there have been days of sunshine and blue skies, days which always help my soul start to believe in good things again.
There have been threads throughout the month. I’m into threads and themes at the moment, as a way to reflect on my life, watching them weaving through my days. I prefer calling them threads rather than plates to spin or items to juggle to keep up in the air.
Thread 1. My Spiritual Direction course.
This term we’ve been on a journey through a whole load of different spiritualities, the Celts, Ignatius, the Mystics, Benedict and the Desert Mothers and Fathers. It’s been a fascinating ride through the history of people trying to connect deeper with God. I’ve loved seeing the things these people all had in common in trying to get a grip on who God is and God’s involvement in our lives. We’ve also started getting a bit more serious about practising being spiritual directors with each other. It’s fairly intense to try and listen to a part of someone’s life whilst three other people write down observations on your listening skills, but I think it’s teaching me good things. I’ve got a long way to go but it’s a fascinating process to try and notice what God is up to in someone’s life, together with them.
Thread 2. Work.
I have really enjoyed the addition of a new team member into the mix of life working for the lovely One Church Brighton. Sam is our new Associate Minister and it’s been a joy to work with him over the last couple of months. I thrive working in a team and it feels more team like than ever which is a Good Thing. I feel glad to have this job, privileged and curious as to God will do in the next few months in our beautiful messy broken church.
Thread 3. Family life
We have lived another month, the boys have gone to school and we help them through their large emotions after school, they fight, they adore each other, they fight again. We talk about huge topics like heaven and the moral of all the films we’ve watched. We sing songs replacing key words with the word Poo (no idea when that stops being funny…). We laugh, we cry, I feel like I’m stuck on repeat most mornings and wish for a robot to say, ‘get dressed, get ready, put your shoes on’. We read books, we play Mario Odyssey and they sweetly encourage me or tell me to get Daddy to get through the hard bit. We snuggle on sofas. We sleep (finally, we have hit a spot where they both sleep in their own bed all night… 7 years on. Past Kath- you’ll get there. Future Kath, don’t hate me for jinxing it by saying it out loud). They can swim and have opinions on life, they are not babies or toddlers or preschoolers anymore. They are growing taller and taller and are like two giant puppy dogs who orbit my world.
Husbandface ploughs on, not better but not hugely worse. I look back over the last 4 years and ponder the journey we have come on. I feel less panicky, less alone, less fearful. We are more mindful of the ups and downs, we wait out this latest downward spiral with more hope than last time. We smile at each other and watch more Grey’s Anatomy under blankets, wine in hand, waiting for the storm to pass once more. We also got to see ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ in London this month which was an amazing musical, it might have exhausted us for a week after but it was so worth it.
Thread 4: Sabbath/self care.
January was all about Sabbath, we pondered it as a church and I had many conversations about what Sabbath might be about which various different people. I went back to the lovely Eugene Peterson’s writing about it and remembered why I need Sabbath times.
“One of the ways God has provided for us to stay aware of and responsive to him as the determining and centering reality of our lives, in a world that doesn’t care about it, is by sabbath-keeping. At regular intervals we all need to quit our work and contemplate his, quit talking to each other and listen to him. God knows we need this and has given us a means in Sabbath- a day for praying and playing, simply enjoying what he is.” (E. Peterson)
I need time with God, time to remember that I can trust God’s provision, that filling my week with stuff to try and validate my existence isn’t necessary. I can opt to stop, to hang out with the One who really does validate my existence, who speaks words of love over me, who called me Beloved and is the foundation of my life. So, I’ve done more of that this month, more time sitting quietly in the arms of the one who loves me most. I’ve had more times intentionally getting outside and stomping on the downs, by myself and with friends, talking through how life is. I relate most to God on walks and so I’ve walked.
Thankfully walking also helps my body feel good and my mind be at peace, so maybe Sabbath helps me take care of myself so I have more ability to care for those around me. Maybe there is something in this hanging out with God thing after all…
I’ve also read a whole load of books, been on runs, taken care of my back, listened to some amazing music and done the stuff I know will help my soul be ok.
Thread 5: Noticing my monthly cycle.
I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before but this month was a brilliant month to notice my body and how my menstrual cycle was affecting me. I read ‘Period’ which is a brilliant book all people should read to help make it normal to talk about something which affects over half the population of the world. I then had a wonderfully normal monthly cycle, some months it never quite works out in such a text book way but this month was brilliantly predictable. I had two weeks of super joy, high energy and feeling on top of the world. I then sunk into tiredness and had a day in bed exhausted, I levelled off into low energy and then into a week of fairly high sensitivity and sadness. Things that I hadn’t thought about for a while came back into my head, I grieved the loss of community from our last church and felt sad and a bit disconnected from life, and then my period came. I found it so helpful noticing all that was going on, it didn’t mean my sadness wasn’t real, it was just highlighting a grief that was there, which could then be acknowledged and felt. I feel a bit differently this week after being fairly high energy again and able to see a wider picture of community happening in different ways. It’s fascinating to notice all that goes on in my head and body, I’m sure not everything is down to my monthly cycle but lots appears to be and it’s good to ride the rollercoaster with that in mind.
And there we are.
Happy Friday to you all.
How’s your month been?