God answers prayers when we have major worries On Sunday I had a restless night and woke up on Monday morning feeling tired and drained of energy or inspiration. In the first month of this pandemic I had a few … Continue reading →
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Premonitions in Faith Yesterday ~ Is it the old fashioned word of Prophesy? Sometimes I have a feeling that something is going to happen. Occasionally these feelings are so negative I feel physically affected, I ache all over and my … Continue reading →
“I just found myself praying more and more at odd times through the day, not that I didn’t pray before, but through this pandemic the need to pray became intense. It was however more than that, it was the beginning of a new spiritual awakening in my life, only this time it was just me and God.”
A Twitter follower and reader of this blog series of spiritual reflections said she would like to know what is happening in my spiritual life now. To explain a little, I’m an English lady living in Scotland and so we are still virtually locked down here, just, but I wrote this a few weeks ago:
A joke is going around on What’s App which struck a chord and made me giggle:
A well known politician phoned her leader *(ex leader now in more ways than one)
‘I’m in Scotland now Jeremy. What’s the way to Loch Down?’
Trying to keep Positive ~ to keep the worries at bay
Joking aside, unexpected personal pleasures of this lock down have been finding Russian Caravan loose leaf tea in the back of the cupboard when we’d run out of tea bags, discovering the delights of home baking when we had no biscuits and noticing the wonders of nature in the garden as spring and summer arrived moment by moment, away from the rush of ‘normal’ life. Topping all of this ‘happiness’ in this weird world has been the neighbourliness, already experienced here in Kinghorn, but taken up to dizzy new heights.
As I sat up on the garden decking overlooking the River Forth towards Inchkeith Island and Edinburgh, I reflected on the hardest challenges and greatest joys since Lock Down.
What do you do in lock down if you are a natural doer
I am a doer, you see. I’ve experienced a lifetime teaching children, teenagers and young adults; my last job giving a second chance to many school leavers, to inspire them to find a path in life. In the past I have been a volunteer in my spare time, helping at a soup kitchen, teaching English as A Second Language and participating in Take a Break for a young Down Syndrome girl. Then, recently, I’ve helped at a Foodbank and worked with a willing group of gardeners in Kinghorn in Bloom. My most difficult stumbling block now is that I am unable to do any of these things.
Suddenly, like many of us, I was not allowed to do anything helpful for others because I was shielding my husband Roger, who suffered from severe asthma as a child. After all, moving up to Fife was originally for the sake of Roger’s health and so I have been taking this lock down very seriously. I have delighted in organising procedures and places where food stuffs and post are put into a three day quarantine as well as the regular cleaning of door handles and bells. We already had milk and orange juice delivered. Roger sent away for some bars of carbolic soap which we strategically placed at the two points of entry at home. I thought this would be grim on the hands but it was actually quite oily! I also organised on line shopping for ourselves and my elderly parents down in Bedford, which included treats. These have been so important. I had some crab sent to Mum and Dad in Bedfordshire one day and Cornish Pasties here, Roger’s favourite; little gestures which gave us all pleasure. Like so many people, the hardest thing of all was not being able to see them ~ my parents. They seemed so very far away. Unattainable.
Mary Poppins sang it just right:
“Raindrops on Roses and whiskers on kittens …. brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things … when the dog bites, when the been stings, when I’m feeling sad ….
Are communication and travel reduced to a virtual reality for the foreseeable future?
Other than that I worked at a leisurely pace in the garden, which took up most of my time and also, as an author, attempting to write, although focus on anything creative was often beyond me. On Twitter the other day I couldn’t help but adapt a chorus in my mind:
‘One more tweet along the world I go, from the old things to the new, keep me tweeting along with you.’
At first I fretted and worried about my parents, but apart from speaking to them at least once a day and making sure they had all they needed, and liaising with their warden and doctor and my sister on the phone, Zoom and What’s App, I couldn’t do anything else.
Could I make a difference?
In the beginning I helped the resilience group, including my husband who, through Zoom conferencing worked out how to support vulnerable and isolated folks in the village. I formatted postcards, posters and letters for them and offered to make phone calls to the lonely … but what next?
It sounds like a bit of a cliché but I found myself praying
~ at least far more than I normally did. At first it was an involuntary happening, when I noticed a new flower opening in the garden, pausing to feel the sunshine on my face, hearing the bees buzzing about their business or an unexpected scent I’d never noticed before. There’s a Thyme in my cliff garden which reminded me of incense. When I closed my eyes the smell transported me to churches, both here and abroad, with their vast vaulted ceilings and ornate naves.
There’s a belief that collective positive thinking of all faiths over the world can have an impact. I’ve heard of a growing momentum encouraging as many people as possible to focus at 11 pm each night on the healing our planet, before we destroy it irretrievably. I’m a great believer in the power of collective consciousness.
Prayer, at its best, is the total letting go of control, almost an admission of helplessness. This Covid 19 lock down was certainly, for most of us, just that. In praying I’ve discovering the joy of stillness too.
“Let Go and Let God” as the saying goes.
I’ve even found myself kneeling at night. Why? I think it is because I can lift up to God so many people ~those I care about, those working so hard to get us back on our feet; in the National Heath, the forces, politicians, supermarket workers and those who are still able to volunteer, including my wonderful neighbours who call themselves ‘Pettycur Pals’ on What’s App.
became a key word of the moment because there’s nothing like focussing on blessings whenever you feel a bit depressed, worried or trapped by the situation we were facing at that moment. As well as prayer I’ve found myself humming familiar hymns and choruses.
“Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the holy one …..”
Where is the world and faith now ~ I just didn’t know
Lacking in new reading material and wanting a change from my Kindle I’ve delved into yellowing paperbacks I read back in the 1980’s when I first took Christianity seriously, or did Christianity call me? There was an evangelical charismatic revival back then. I wonder what happened. Did most of us conveniently drift away?
And Finally …
Often as I dwell on these books, family and friends and the issues of the day I have no actual words but to ask for His blessings and i’m thankful. It is the only thing I can really do.
Yes I worry about my parents. Yes I long to see them again and be close to them but …
slowly, alone at home, I am growing in faith.
Would you like me to tell you how?
(I am with my husband, of course, but ‘alone’ with my thoughts and experience of reaching out to God)
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The Climbs, the Plateaus and the Valleys My spiritual life was growing during those years, but it was still a ‘roller coaster’ of an experience. About that time in my life (mid 1980’s) a friend gave me a copy of … Continue reading →
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Enrichment and Encouragement My awakening (see a previous post) led to a period of spiritual enveloping in so many varied ways. I was still a church bellringer and so attended services at St Mary’s Church in Aylesbury but also Aston … Continue reading →
Continuing my journey following my awakening, I experienced a wonderful time of protection, surrounded by the warmth and love of Christian friends. It was a time of a huge emotional crisis in my life, what with my marriage breaking down … Continue reading →
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My last post finished as I was first married in Norfolk in my final year of college. At our happiest times we were then living in a small village in Bedfordshire, involved in ringing church bells and church life where … Continue reading →