Lots of miles travelled this week – literally and figuratively. I cant say much about the figurative, internal ones, save that I’m OK, and (as ever) hugely blessed in my friends.
The Spiritual Direction course started on Monday, and is going to be Very Hard Work (no surprises there) but well worth doing. It feels presumptuous to be setting out on this particular journey, but the reality is that as people seem increasingly disposed to trust me with such important parts of themselves, it’s the least I can do to try and improve my chances of being there for them. And of course, the prelude to the essential “getting myself out the way” process is recognising where that same, all-too-familiar self is most likely to intrude. Hence lots of (non-liturgical :-) ) processing.
The group is largely women, and many at least a of decade older than me, (though, to my huge relief, for once I'm not the youngest there by miles...at 46, that really should stop happening soon, even in the Church of England) . There's a sprinkling of men, (all clergy) one of whom makes my own considerable propensity to natter resemble the verbal excess of a Trappist with laryngitis. I'm a rank amateur in comparison to him. Naturally, he was my partner for one mutual listening exercise,- a very helpful learning point. He even fed back on his own speaking….Methinks I need to consider ways of reclaiming the initiative, just in case it’s ever necessary. The course is held near Oxford, and by the end of the week I’ll have made the trip to that city 3 times, not to mention the familiar half-way house of Burford. Considering that one of my hopes for the year was to use my car less, this isn’t something to be proud of, but it looks set to be part of life for quite a while.
At least the A40 is a good road to travel, specially the stretch the far side of Burford, overlooking the Windrush Valley. When I remember the sort of school run I’d have had if we’d continued to live in London, this really makes me smile. Wish I were able to take photos there myself, but as the driver I promise it's not going to happen!