Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Still here, I think

Suspect that I may be breaking the longest silence this blog has yet known...In part this was the result of 2 lazy weeks aboard Polyphony, exploring the previously uncharted waters of the Staffs & Worcs & Shropshire Union Canals, and in part it's the result of a longing to retain the feeling of calm and space with which I returned from the holiday.
This is in no way reflected in the state of my study, which is as post-cataclysmic as ever...but at the moment my brain still feels OK, as if things are mostly manageable, as if there is some hope that God and I will get through the next few months together.

What struck me above all, in this period of post holiday clarity, was that I had space not just to read some good theology but to let it work on me.
I'm part of a very small, very sporadic clergy birds reading group, and we met on Monday to have another go at Timothy Radcliffe's "Why go to Church?"
We'd started it early in the summer, but too few of us had got beyond the opening chapters though we all agreed that what we had read encouraged us to delve deeper. I'm strictly forbidden from taking theology of any kind on holiday, so it wasn't til Sunday afternoon that I was able to revisit, and indeed finish the book......and I found myself excited and inspired in ways that I only usually manage at the end of a week long retreat. That sort of reading makes me happy to my core - reminds me of all the reasons that I love my calling - sends me on my way singing...and it hasn't happened anything like enough since I became an incumbent.

Learning point: I really do need to make space for reflective reading - which will involve not just the time in which to read, but the preparation time in which decks are cleared, preoccupations shelved to enable the process at all.
Possible supplementary: I may be more likely to achieve this if I spend less time online...though I need to set against that the value of reflective blogging, which used to be so much the stuff of life for me.
Oh what a dilemma!
Once I've logged on, the siren voice of the internet is liable to call me in so many different directions, and often the half hour I'd thought to spend writing here is taken up ranging far and wide to read all sorts of exciting things.

While I was away this blog celebrated its 6th birthday. I began posting in the early weeks of my curacy, when the space to reflect was a given...as I wrote I discovered a community of friends whom I'd never have dreamed of, and it is this more than anything else that keeps me blogging onwards, though I've all too conscious that the glory days are past. There simply isn't the time. It would be truly ironic if it turned out that time spent blogging was the barrier to having something to blog about...but it seems a distinct possibility...
Come what may, I simply must share some of Timothy Radcliffe's wonderful words- which have filled me with such joy, - but not tonight. My post holiday resolutions include bed by 11.00 unless there is a real crisis - and tomorrow I need all the strength I can muster, to brave the Messy Church outing to Weston-super-Mare. 
If I make it, I'll see you on the other side!


Penelopepiscopal said...

Welcome back!

I share the dilemma of reflective reading/reflective writing/blogging and the double edged sword that is the internet. This bleeds over into the territory of sermon writing a well for me as well - it takes a lot longer to write a sermon when I'm clicking here and there and reading all kinds of interesting things that aren't at all related to what I'm doing.

I have discovered, though, that if I put a time limit on any one of those activities (I will write for x amount of time without clicking elsewhere, or I will wander around for 30 minutes and then move on) I can manage better. For me, reading, writing and reflecting are all on a continuum and so I need to keep moving myself and not get overloaded in one place or another. Also I've noticed that I need to do the reading first or I'm already swimming upstream.

Good luck with your resolutions!

Anonymous said...

I'm on tonite to do sermon prep, yet here I am reading blogs :)

Anonymous said...

Have missed your sermons and reflections. Hope you find a balance that allows some blogging.

Sounds like a perfect holiday for a busy vicar. Glad it refreshed and restored.

Am amused word verification is "press"!

Songbird said...

It's strange how necessary blogging felt once, and how I too struggle with its place in my life now. But I'm grateful it brought us together.

Kathryn said...

Oh Songbird, me too, me too! So very grateful :)

Michelle said...

There is a balance to be found, I pray!

I have Radcliffe's book on my shelf and am inspired to pick it up again...but am glad that you got much rest and relaxation on the water.

Freda said...

Glad to see you back and blogging. It is your honest reflection that appeals to me. Btw - bed by eleven sounds a good idea! Hope it keeps you rested.