Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sunsets and Sunrises

Our room with a view.
I seem to have become the 'silent rector's wife' and have lost my writing voice for the moment. I think the Rector@6 and I are experiencing such a roller coaster journey at the moment, that I need time to reflect before I record my thoughts. One moment our life is full of sunrises and excitement for new opportunities and the next, we seem to have a run of sunsets as things close down and opportunities do not fulfil their promise. Everyone must experience this when they move to an unknown area and each day, the Rector@6 and I venture out in different directions to glean more knowledge about our area. I do find it a lonely process at times - while the Rector@6 has the opposite experience of having to meet so many new people at so many different occasions. I am wary of jumping into things with both feet and, already, I am glad that I have been wary but soon I must take the plunge and make some firm commitments. But everything is so new - every person, place or journey is new. And that is stressful.
I am missing the sense of 'awe and wonder' that I experienced on Dartmoor and, before that, living next to the sea. I have yet to find that place where I feel refreshed and can marvel at the greatness of God. It is when I stand looking out to a huge grey sea that no man can master - or look at the huge boulders stacked on top of one another, forming a precipitously balanced Tor in the bleak open moorland, that I feel a sense of God and a sense of how minute my problems really are.

There are these places here, I'm sure, and we will find them - when we have the time to explore. For now, I must continue to live in the present and take pleasure from things that are much closer to home such as the glorious primroses that are scattered in their hundreds all over our back garden. Even on the grey days, they seem to smile. And the view of the village church silhouetted by wonderful sunsets that we can see from our sitting room. And, of course, there is Tess - the eternal optimist - to keep us on the right tracks!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Sunset on a good life.

As the snow is gently blowing in the wind, The Rector@6 is digging the last resting place for our sixteen year old lakeland dog - Jem. She came to us on Palm Sunday all those years ago and has been the most challenging of dogs to own! Miss Independent had a very strong sense of survival and she could be very fierce as a young dog - a troublesome dog who seemed to laugh at life and resented other dogs who got in her way. We would have rehomed her in the early years but we feared that she would end up being put down - and she didn't deserve that. She has travelled many miles with us and has lived in the last four houses. I am so glad that she came here with us and now adds to our history in this house.

We had rushed Jem to the vets on Easter Saturday evening and we thought the decision would be made then. We prepared ourselves but she walked into the vets and walked out with us again fifteen minutes later! We knew that she was in her last weeks but even this morning she was out of bed and walked to the post office with me - but the symptoms of an internal tumour were increasing and we had to make the sad decision this afternoon after consulting the vet once more. Her last resting place is under a new apple tree appropriately called 'Sunset'.We do miss her.

Monday, 1 April 2013

A Very Busy Easter

Never have a baptism on Easter Sunday The Rector@6 was told by colleagues when he was in training. (Despite being biblical, it is usually too busy with services.) So first Easter after training - what does he do - he has an infant baptism on Easter Sunday. And what a joy it was! The sun shone and the little village church was absolutely packed - not only with the Easter congregation, the baptism party but also visitors from far and wide who were staying in holiday rentals or with relatives. In fact the whole weekend has been a joy!

Good Friday and Easter Saturday followed the pattern of previous years with excellent Easter garden construction by the children in two of the villages. There had been activites from stone painting to chocolate nest making and egg hunts arranged by members of the clergy and lay team. It was lovely to see so many children confidently busying themselves around the churchyard and having fun. There was also a reflective hour at the cross for adults with music and readings which The Rector@6 and I could attend together.

Easter day started with a Book of Common prayer communion service in the church that was just a mile up the road. With the clocks changing, it was an early start for us but not as early as the last year's sunrise service in Devon. The drive along the country lane was full of spring promise - the hard overnight frost was beginning to thaw but still added a sparkle to fence posts and gates as they were caught by the sun. An early egret was disturbed from the stream that runs along the lane and lazily rose up into the air in a brillant white streak. The car was full of primroses for the congregation to take home after the service. The church only has three tolling bells - but they were expertly rung by the sidesman, in a series of patterns that were lively and inviting. Sixteen hardy soles made it to this service and it was good to see them.

I drove The Rector@6 (still in cassock and surplice) back to the village church. It is such a shame that he cannot stay and talk to new faces when there are other churches waiting for his services. He arrived in time to talk to the baptism party and for extra hymn books (borrowed from the other church) to be given out. The newly created children's area was already in use and the overflow chairs full! The baby behaved, The children who helped with the sermon - cooperated willingly (and were not just chocolate egg bribed!) and people sang enthusiastically. The organist scooped up her student daughter on the way back from communion and they sang beautifully (all unplanned) during communion as there was rather a long queue of people. After the service there was a primrose for each family to take with them as a reminder of the Easter message. The holiday visitors were thrilled and amazed that our small village church could be so vibrant and alive in sleepy rural Dorset and tell us that they will be returning next year. A few villagers who don't normally come to church but had just come to see the new vicar - have also said they will be back. But what will they find next time? The reality is trying to keep these small village churches in the centre of the rural community and alive.