today has been full of it!
After Morning Prayer came Little Fishes - capacity crowds, the story of the miracle at Cana and (a minor miracle in itself) no spiced red fruit juice (wine, obviously) spilled on the chapel carpet. I'm really struggling with the thought of leaving this group - so many wonderful women, so many delightful tinies, and the bumps whom I won't get to see turn into babes. Each week is precious.
This was followed by the funeral of a lovely lady, whom I met when I conducted her husband's service very soon after I'd arrived here. We'd remained friends...she was one of those "heart lift" people who always make you feel better for having seen them. She was desperately ill just before I went to India in November 06, and I'd left feeling it was unlikely that I would see her again - but she fought back and, when I caught up with her in hospital on my return her first question was, as always
"How are you and how is your family?"
I almost expected her voice to interrupt our tributes today - "Enough about me. How are YOU doing?"
Having made a brief appearance at the wake, for the sake of her (equally lovely) children, I then drove over to Tewkesbury (still surrounded by water) to visit an elderly parishioner who really won't be here much longer. His daughter and son-in-law were there, so we prayed together. Not sure if he was aware of much of what was happening as I anointed him, but his daughter has been very anxious that everything should be done properly and it was clearly the right thing to do.
Another visit – this time to someone struggling with serious depression. Hard to be there with her and able to do so little...We talked about this - that all I can do is stand beside her in the darkness and wait for it to lift. She is an elderly lady, who has struggled with this demon all her life and each time it returns she has less energy for the fight. Someone else whom I won't want to leave.
Evening Prayer and immediately afterwards, a meeting of the Youth Committee.
Really positive tone to the meeting, and some helpful support for a couple of tricky issues we are facing…It’s lovely that we are now able to be confident in our work with children and young people overall, that relationships exist that simply weren’t in place a few years ago. I will miss the children of Charlton Kings horribly…dealing with the fact that I won’t know “what happened next” for them is quite the hardest part about moving on, but as a group they’ve taught me more about ministry than almost anyone. When I came here as a former “Children’s Reader” I imagined that my priorities would be very different, that children’s work would be much less significant…what I didn’t expect was that it would be the thing that fired and fuelled me for the other areas.I guess I might have known though, since it was when reading the distinctly depressing statistics about contact with young families that I heard myself tell WonderfulVicar, back at the stage when we were weighing each other up and trying to discern whether St M's was the place for me
"I've got to come here".
Yup - it's a God thing for sure!
Four years on, I know that if I am to flourish in ministry, I need regular opportunities to spend time with children and youth. Looking ahead, I feel very blessed that there is not only a church primary school but 2 county primaries within or in shouting distance of my new parish.
When I feel inadequate and terrified I remember that, and become simply excited again!