Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’
Today’s title is actually ‘stolen’ from a lovely book by Joyce Rupp that takes you on a daily journey of spiritual growth. I’ve had this book since the week of guided prayer that I enjoyed in June of last year. My Prayer Guide, Margaret, suggested it to me as a means of something to continue with after our time together had come to an end. Over a period of six weeks Joyce uses the image of a cup in its various guises to teach us something about our spiritual selves and our walk with God. The open cup, the broken cup. . . you get the meaning. I bought the 1997 version of the book second hand because I loved the cover and the woodcut prints, but it’s available in a lovely new version too and I’ll put the links to that at the bottom of this post. I didn’t actually use it last year but I picked it up a week or so ago and it’s been part of my morning ever since.
Part of the joy of this book is that you have to choose a mug or a cup to travel with you, I have a thing about mugs 😀 . I chose the cup that I use the most, my ‘Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte’ mug. It’s not the prettiest but it is my favourite and it’s the one that’s with me most often when I’m praying and spending time with God. I was sitting this morning with my chosen cup [full of lovely frothy coffee I might add] after my prayer time and reflecting on today’s entry which is about what the cup can teach us. In the past I have often felt that ‘life’ got in the way of my relationship with God. That having to leave for work or do the school-run were distractions that, quite frankly, irritated me because they disturbed my link to the divine. As I looked at my cup I realised that although it has sides that contain and hold my spirit safely, it is also portable, allowing me to transport it with me into my daily life. Influencing what I do, how I think, how I react. Touching all those who enter my life, however briefly. Faith does not have to be reserved for those quiet and often brief moments alone in prayer, at church or in the car. Faith is ‘portable’, a 24/7 gift that is infinite and omnipresent so it doesn’t suddenly stop when we leave the house or speak to someone. I know now that I was wrong to feel so frustrated by the interruptions of ‘life’ coming between me and God, because my life IS my relationship with God and it’s meant to be shared.
Blessings to one and all.
Links as promised . . . I am not sponsored by any of the products linked below.
Posted in Crochet, Daily Life, Faith, Family, Lent & Easter, Private Vows, tagged Christianity, crochet, Faith, Family, Private Religious Vows, Religion, Spirituality, Work on Saturday, February 11, 2017| 2 Comments »
It has been a long time. Life has moved on. I have moved on. A few times I nearly deleted this blog, but then. . . . I just couldn’t quite bring myself to. I am back at work, albeit it very part-time. I provide lunch-time cover at a school for children with severe physical and learning disabilities. It’s rewarding and humbling. You think you’re having a bad day and then you realise that your worst day is a hundred times better than their best day.
Ethan is half-way through his second term at our local Catholic Senior School. For the most part he’s enjoying it and has [according to his tutor] transitioned really well but the step-up in homework quantity, compared to Primary School, has taken some getting used to. I’m sure he’s not alone in that challenge.
Si has also got himself a new job. His night shift at a local distribution warehouse has been cast aside for the dizzy heights as an IT Consultant, a job he did for fourteen years back in the days before he worked in education. The hours are so much better and so is the money. The whole nights thing is not conducive to family life or having any quality time together. Made worse to be honest by a truly ridiculous off-duty rota that included far too many single nights off. Anyone who’s worked nights will appreciate that a single night off is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard……!!!
My crochet continues on at a steady pace. I’m not churning out a project a week, or even a month, but I enjoy what I do and I’ve got three projects that are all going to be finished within the next few weeks. A shawl, a pair of socks and a blanket. I’ll post photo’s of the finished articles when I get there. I have however, finished Ethan’s Cosy Crofter Blanket and the photo’s of that are at the head of this post. The perfect finishing touch to his new bedroom.
There is big news on the Faith Front and this has been one of those subjects that I’ve spent a while deciding whether or not to write about/share. The thing that finally swung it was that I myself would have liked to have a found an article like this when I was trying to discern my religious path. Interestingly this is not something I’ve shared much in real life apart from a strictly need-to-know basis. It feels a little boastful and overly pious to make this public but hopefully it will help someone else. So . . . . . .
At the latter end of 2008 [before I became Catholic] I found the wonderful community of Turvey Abbey where, for many years, I walked the path towards becoming a Benedictine Oblate. A time of formation ensued towards taking the vows of Stability, Conversion and Obedience. For all sorts of reasons I never took that final step to oblation. All I can say is that it never felt quite right. I love Turvey and the community and I still love going there, in fact it’s probably one of my favourite places on this Earth to worship, but I felt that God was calling me elsewhere. However, it’s taken me a very long time to discern where that might be.
Somehow I felt that God was asking me to make private vows….promises just between Him and me, not attached to a charism or a community, just a way of aligning myself more closely with Jesus and hopefully bringing some of His love to all the people in my life. Easy you’d think huh? Hmmm well in reality, not easy at all. Firstly, it took me a while to find out anything about private vows [we’re not talking consecrated vows of chastity, poverty and obedience here] and secondly what would that/they even look like? With the blessing of the Turvey Nuns I gave up the Oblate path and decided to focus completely on Private Vows, asking God to guide me. I devoted the whole of Lent 2016 to this cause not really expecting much to happen in what is after all just a few short weeks. A good starting point seemed to be working out exactly what the vows would be. Clearly I’m a wife and mother so chastity or the eremetic life were out of the question. These would have to be vows that challenged me yes, but that would also fit around my family. I also felt that they would have to benefit everyone [without exception] who touched my life. These are not vows to benefit me, they’re for the benefit of my community, they’re to bring the face and love of Christ to all. So, with much trepidation and the loving support of Sr Yvonne who is the Vicar for Religious and the Pastoral Administrator of my parish, I moved forward in faith and prayer. Over the coming days words soon made themselves clear….Obedience, Simplicity…and ??? That last one was illusive to say the least. One day I was dusting upstairs with the TV on in my bedroom and I suddenly heard the word, ‘Caring’ and I knew instantly that was the last one. I’ve no idea if it was from the TV or God but there it was, loud and clear. So I had them all ~ Simplicity, Obedience and Caring. I wrote posts on Simplicity and Caring when I was discerning last year so you can read a little of the thought process behind them if you’re interested.
I have not yet made these vows but, as we approach Lent 2017, I know that the time is right to move forward with this and I will be sure to share how and when that happens. The one thing I do know is that it will be very private and simple. If you pray keep me in your prayers, if you don’t, think of me kindly as I make this amazing journey into the arms of God.
There was a discussion on the dreaded Facebook yesterday about banning the wearing of the burka [not sure if the niqab comes under that ban as well] in the UK. As many of you will know it has been banned in France already. Now, I have to say at this point that I totally understand the security based reasons behind this school of thought. However, looking at the bigger picture from a different angle, I am worried that we are picking away at our freedom of choice that we are so famous for as a nation. If we start dictating what people can wear then where will it end?
Historically, I can remember a nurse and a British Airway’s clerk both of whom were banned from wearing a christian cross at work. I wear my crucifix all the time, in fact I rarely take it off. Although wearing a cross or similar is not a security issue, I can see similarities here, and feel an equal amount of injustice at both situations. Again, removing our freedom of choice, and this is supposed to be a christian country first and foremost!!
I know that for those muslim women who choose to wear the burka for the right reasons [i.e. based in faith as an informed choice, not through fear or oppression] being told they can’t wear it in public would cause, at the very least, feelings of distress, anxiety and frustration. They would feel they are compromising their beliefs. Interestingly, part of the discussion produced the comment that ‘they should go to a country that shares their religious views’. Fair point, but that could be tricky if they’re white british. White british muslim converts are often the most devout and passionate about their faith, which has lead to some of them choosing to take the veil. These women belong in the UK regardless of their religion, their lives and families are here. We have a huge, and still growing, muslim convert community here in MK and I think that’s something to celebrate.
So, going back to my initial fears, how free to choose are we really? I’m starting to wonder in this rapidly developing ‘Nanny State’. I used to celebrate and feel lucky at being British and living here. At times now I feel suffocated by, and disappointed at the country I live in and some of the people I have to share it with. I am obviously aware of the terrible extremist based crimes taking place, but in my opinion they have nothing to do with real faith or religion. God/Allah pbuh, does not sanction genocide or terrorism, so no religious label or scripture will ever make that right, no matter how hard they try to justify their crimes under that banner.
I found these quotes last night and they really made me think:~
“Not enough people know or understand just how little freedom we have left.” Korban Blake
“As free as you allow others to be, such freedom you create for yourself.” Bryant McGill
Finally, I found this in an article in The Guardian by Andrew Brown and I wonder if maybe he’s right:~
“The burka debate is not so much about religious obligation, as about the public rejection of the surrounding society, and society’s tolerance for that.”