“Is your work a job or a calling?” asks a Grandmother of a patient I was looking after yesterday. It threw me slightly – I wasn’t expecting it, its not a question I’ve ever been asked directly before and I wasn’t sure if she meant in the religious sense or not. I paused as I considered this question. She answered the question for me with ‘well obviously today its a job!’ I smiled at this (she’d watched me attempt to multi-task to the limit at points during the day and had made comments such as “and in your sixth pair of hands…”) but corrected her. I do believe my work is a calling.
There is a quote in my quote book which a friend sent me: “If God is offering us His liberating rest and peace, why do we insist on a treadmill existence?”, Source Unknown. My life at the moment seems incredibly busy – a treadmill existence almost. I always seem to be in work doing 12 hour shifts, and when I am off I’m often travelling around to see friends or doing SCM stuff. Most of what I am doing – work and SCM stuff, I feel is what God wants me to be doing. But consequently I feel that I have less time to pray and read the bible. Whenever I’m not working I try to make it along to my local Methodist church, and I have also been attending an alternative worship community which meets on a Sunday evening. I find the alternative worship an important part of my spiritual needs at the moment – half an hour to just be with Him, concentrating on nothing else, and just having that space to lie on the floor and reflect. I wish I had more time to commit to Him, within my daily routine. It just seems silly that I’m so busy doing stuff that I feel He wants me to do, that I don’t have enough time to devote to Him. I could probably make time – would either mean less sleep and/or less ‘relaxing online time’. Hmm…
Its the SCM theme for the year, so as a member of General Council its a fairly common phase in my life at the moment. But recently I keep
discovering remembering how small this world is! Take last night as an example. I went to a church community, bring and share meal held at someones house. I was the first to arrive (was miles from my house so I allowed ‘getting lost time’ which I impressively didn’t need!), but after chatting with the host for a few minutes, another person arrived. He turned out to be the vicar of a local church and within 10 minutes of chatting we’d discovered:
* we were born in the same maternity unit in Swansea
* he had connections with the secondary school I went to in Manchester
* he also had close connections with a church that many of my friends at school went to
* he used to live fairly near to my uni house in Swansea
* he used to be the vicar of a church with close ecumenical links to Sketty Methodist, so knew it well (but a fairly long time ago)
* and now we’re involved with the same church community in Bristol.
Now I know, and accept as part of life, that one or two connections with a stranger is perfectly common and normal. But six in three different cities at varying points in our life?!?! And to top it off, after we’d discovered this the third person arrived who said as soon as he released our topic of conversation, ‘oh tell me about it – her dad taught me at uni 20 odd years ago’. Small world, huh?
This weekend I paid a visit to A&E, was elected as a trustee of a national charity and was put in jail by a little kid. Its been a bit manic, and the manicness continues for the next few days as I rush to get my essay done and travel back to my placement. But don’t worry, the A&E visit wasn’t for myself, the national charity is SCM and at the moment I’m more excited than scared, and we organised a Great Escape from the ‘jail’ we were sent to after church.
Apologies for the lack of blogging recently, my life has been completely manic the past few days. I’ve been in lectures, working on my dissertation, sorting out SCM stuff, sitting on the Chaplaincy stall when I can and generally running around like a maniac. I’m gonna go home now and try to sleep/relax before going out to music group and then onto the pub. Will tell you more when I can think straight (like about the fabulous, enthusiastic supervisor I have for my dissertation!).
As some readers will know, I am setting up an SCM group in Swansea this term and during the summer I designed a poster, flyer and ‘Swansea SCM’ logo. These all got sent off to the printers, thanks to Richard, and I have just got them back this evening! And they look great! 😀 I just get this tingly excitement when I look at them – I designed them. I sat and worked out all the finer details (with some help from great friends). And now they’ve all be professionally printed. And its just WOW!!!! I just want to bounce up and down everytime I look at them! I just hope I don’t scare off all the freshers by being too excited!
So, Greenbelt. It was good – I enjoyed myself. I didn't get to go to lots of things – as ever there were items on the programme I wished I could have gone to. Like the Taize worship in Centaur, which we got into, but had to leave almost straight away to get to my shift on the SCM stall. But we made up for it by ensuring we made it to the Sunday evening Taize night prayer. Other highlights include Martyn Joseph, when I got very excited and jumped around lots, and Cara Dillion who really does have an amazing voice. I also enjoyed Jonny Baker's call for more creative and inspiring sermons and the Othona community's singing workshop.
The communion service was good, but I did miss having everyone in the one area. It seemed silly to split us up, when as the logo shows, we're all one. Having said that, I was impressed with John Bell's efforts to link us, by asking each group to shout over to the other group. And, generally, having the main stage situated where it was seemed better – it made it more accessable for people who wanted to just sit back on the grass and listen to the music and I often felt claustrophobic listening to music in the crowded stage two. Although the new mainstage was more open to the elements, it did feel more welcoming somehow.
As I mentioned earlier, I helped on the SCM stall. This year we were making peace cranes out of paper. This took me a while to get the hang of, but one or two Christmas trees later, I eventually managed to do them myself! This activity seemed to attract a large amount of primary school aged children! I quite enjoyed teaching these children how to make the cranes, though I was very aware that it did seem to deter other (slightly-more-interested-in-SCM) people away from the stall, which was a shame. SCM released their new book over the weekend, which was very exciting (or at least it was when the bookshop eventually put the copies out for sale!).
I was also camped with fellow SCMers, which was great fun. There were about 20 of us altogether, camped in a circle around a gazebo – which unfortunately didn't last very long. It was nice to see people gradually emerge from their tent in the morning, and to stay up late singing silly songs into the early hours of the morning!
Overall though it was a good weekend. Having the opportunity to meet up with old and new friends was as good as going to the music, worship and talks.
I know it was over a week ago now, but I thought i’d come and say something about it. It was a good weekend. Some people ended up being handed a lot of responsibility and were busy with meeting and things, whereas I just got sent shopping (this would have been good, except for several thousand football fans…). As to be expected, none of us got a full nights sleep and a large amount of alcohol was consumed! It was very surreal going back to Manchester for it – it meant that I managed to see my parents and my church family, but the trains on the way back to my placement were awful (4 trains, 2 buses and 10 hours – grrr). I was roped into being the offical photographer for the weekend, and the photos can be found here.
In other news – my exam is tomorrow morning, but i feel prepared for it and I’ve managed to stop worrying about all the other stuff. This afternoon I managed to write down everything i need to know, without referring to my notes once. I feel like I can’t really do any more revision. I’m just waiting for the exam now. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I began Saturday by going to see John Bell’s talk on ‘God’s funny Bone’. I thought this was good, he cleverly pointed out humour in the bible, including examples of Jesus being sarcastic! And he managed to get a number of his own jokes in there as well, including a very funny story about a dead dog (honestly, I don’t usually laugh at dead dogs, but this story was funny).
Looking back, I realise that I didn’t actually go to lots of specific events on Saturday, I spent most of the day meeting up with friends. I met up with friends from uni, friends from school, my sisters friends, friends from SCM, friends from my church at home and wibsite friends. It was rather amazing that I knew so many people at Greenbelt this year. And to be able to see everyone was fantastic.
I made an appearance at the wibmeet, although my shifts on the SCM stall meant that I could only come for an hour. It was great to meet everyone especially Tractor Girl, Jack, Neil and Dave. I have to admit though, I think my shy side came out rather than the excitedness, at the wibmeet. I didn’t arrive until 6ish and everyone else was already there and had met each other before – it was slightly scary. But I can assure you that I am usually easily excitable, and if you’re still not convinced, just ask Sarah for confirmation! I did make sure I wore my rainbow hat – I could have also worn a rainbow top, scarf and socks, but decided that would be too much rainbowness.
That evening we sampled the organic bar. I was very impressed with their organic cider, although was disappointed to be given Tescos apple juice later in the weekend. You would have thought they could have had organic soft drinks as well. Generally throughout the site I was impressed with the amount of fairly traded and organic products for sale, although it did mean that food and drinks weren’t exactly cheap (certainly don’t fit in a student budget).
Quote of the day:
Jen: “I’ve got everything except my legs*, I don’t know where they are”
(* zip on trouser extentions).