Sunday, 29 November 2015

Slow starts

I haven't done very well - have I?! I was going to start blogging again and I have failed miserably. Why?
1. The world situation has left me speechless. As I have sat at my computer, images of Paris came into my mind. What words are there to say or write?
2. Everything in my world seems so trivial in the light of what has happened.
3. Writing is a luxury these days - I mean writing from the heart, contemplating, turning words over, erasing, rewriting that phrase.
4. Words are sucked from me in the form of weekly Pew News sheets, monthly letters and meeting minutes and agendas. - I don't write all of these - the Rector@6 is suppose to write some of these but so often I provide a template, an inspiration or a quote to get him going.
5. Editing takes up more time than writing - and I still don't see all the mistakes. I press the 'send' button and immediately want to suck the document back as I have spotted a lurking gremlin in the prose. I know that within minutes there will be one or two of those emails:-
'I don't like to mention this but...' or ' I'm sure everyone else will have pointed out.....'
Actually - I don't mind these too much because I just don't proof read very well some days. It's like a kind of word blindness and I can only see what it is suppose to say and not what it actually says!

Goodness knows how vicars write sermons week after week - sometimes two or three in a week. My mind is so full of agendas, rotas and news letters. - perhaps I would be better off not being the Benefice Secretary!

So how am I managing to write now you may well ask. I am writing this in silence, on a retreat day in mid Devon. WHAT! Me on a retreat! If you could only know how much I have wanted to try a silent retreat since we moved into the Rectory. To be able to hear that still, small voice of calm and not have it interrupted by telephone calls, emails and news sheets that have to be dealt with on a relentless, continuous cycle, week after week. There seems no time at all between the ending of one and the starting of the next. And I am only the secretary - who would ever want to be a vicar/rector/minister. You surely must be 'called' (and not by phone!). You can't think your own thoughts, or look out of the window, and peacefully contemplate the life cycle of a slug (unless of course they feature in this week's sermon).Who ever said a priest's task was just to 'be' - had no idea of the pressure exerted by modern technology.

We didn't realise how mad life was getting until I started seeing the Rector@6 coming in from a meeting/ coffee morning/ visit or service and checking the emails before he has even taken his coat off. Or seeing that he is checking his iPad messages mid sentence in a conversation with me. He has a permanently quizzical look on his face as if he is trying to keep too many plates spinning in the air. (He probably is.) And I was following suite, - not stopping for coffee, not standing and staring at the garden - not breathing! It dawned on us in the same week and we knew we had to stop.

So we have retreated - which turned out to be a silent day ( we hadn't been expecting that!). As we entered the ancient Devon Long house we were told the house was in silence until lunchtime - once we entered the rest of the house.  And I can breathe.......

I want to keep breathing and I hope, on our return to the Rectory, nothing will stop me breathing again. I want to enter into the Advent season with expectation and energy.

Well that lasted about ten minutes! On our return, late in the evening, we discovered the Christmas tree festival had been advertised for the wrong church in the local magazine and a completed baptism form delivered through the door, for a day when there was no morning service in that particular church. When the Rector@6 checked (by email- too late to phone he thought) the invitations had been sent out, 50 guests were coming - everything was booked....except the Rector!


  1. That brings back memories and I only had 3 parishes to look after! Email is both a blessing and a curse, especially now with mobile communications, which were in their infancy in my parish days. I could only read emails or go online at my desk, which gave me space to breathe a little when I was out and about. I also only used my (very basic) mobile in emergencies and never gave out the number. I hope the Rector@6 can manage to keep the demands within bounds.
    As for the baptism situation, been there, done that and still bear the scars. I often felt that booking the vicar came at the bottom of their to-do list and it never crossed their minds I wouldn't be available when they wanted me. Overall I loved my time in parish ministry, but I have never worked so hard in my life.

  2. I understand your situation, and empathize. Deeply. Parish life is s exactly like that. Exhausting.

    It's not so much the life as it is the expectations. That are not clearly defined. I understand all that, too!

    Blessings and Bear hugs for 2016, for you and the rector.