Doing Nothing

In my new ambition to be “in the moment” I have found that sometimes doing nothing is necessary. Being still and thinking isn’t necessarily a waste of time. This is a kind of revelation for me as those of you who know me will be aware of my ability to pack in about a million things into one day, and as my husband puts it, my abject failure to “unitask”. This is of course a symptom of being a working mum. I am writing this while working from home, sorting out a party, researching and will shortly be getting some exercise (Cycling to the library!).

As christians we need to be able to hear God’s voice, and not assume he’s gone away or is putting his feet up just because we can’t hear what he is saying. I have probably had the same eperience as alot of women when you say something, and noone seems to hear it, but 30 seconds later someone else is saying it back to you!  Older women also complain about feeling invisible. Maybe God feels the same!

 The sermon on Sunday spoke about flying above the clouds in order to hear God’s voice, and not letting the clouds get in the way of seeing the bigger picture. For me, my “busyness” is often part of  this barrier. I am too busy and important and stressed to listen to his voice, and also there are probably alot of other people who need to hear it more than me, so in my mind, I’m doing him a favour by keeping myself out of harm’s way, and not bothering him.

I recently purchased a patio knife. It scrapes out the moss and weeds between the paving stones on our patio, and it’s quite satisfying to dig out all the weeds. When I purchased this addition to our household, I was really quite excited. In the old days it would have been going to salsa, or a club or meeting new people that would have got me going!  Church is also somewhere I didn’t use to hang out. Sunday mornings I was mainly asleep or hungover.

One of the key things I have learnt since becoming a Christian, is that God is no less interested in me now with my patio knife than he was when I was out partying. It’s not about obeying rules or conforming to a certain way of life. He loves me regardless. Just like being a “good enough” mum, I have to settle for being a “good enough” christian. God knows if I am trying my best and when to prod me if I’m getting too comfortable. I have nothing to prove and nowhere to go. This is quite an unusual concept for me to grasp!

2 Corinthians 3:5-7 We are not good enough to think we can do anything ourselves. But God makes us able to do it.God has made a new start with people. He has given us a new way back to God. It is not a written law. The Spirit gives it to us. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.

Back to School

School term starts here tomorrow, and like most parents we will be a mixture of happy and sad to get back into the nornal routine. This is probably the last year we won’t be able to go away in non-school holidays, but even if you are not at school then there is something about the new season of late summer/early autumn that is different from hot days in August, even if it’s just packing up the cricket whites and getting out the football kit instead!

I am quite relieved but a bit anxious as we recently had speech and language therapy for our son and he is being referred to a paediatrican (not a paedophile) for further assessment as they think he might be on the spectrum of Autism. They are also going to support him as he starts in nursery at school for the first time. His favourite thing is counting and memorising the alphabet, which we’ve always known was slightly unusual for his age, but not maybe that different from alot of other little boys. I find his fascination and focus on one thing really difficult to feign interest in, and sometimes hide his favourite alphabet books as I can’t bear to read them with him again!

Someone told me the phrase “atypical” is often a more positve one than “abnormal”, as this describes how he interacts in a more unexpected way but is no different on the inside than anyone else.

Part of the problem is me. I am not very good at focusing on the here and now, and spend too much time planning, thinking about the future, or how I coudl have done things differently in the past, and find it difficult to think about the A-Z and nothing else! Sometimes when an event I have planned, itself comes round I sometimes feel a bit disappointed that the moment in time can’t be sort of frozen or spread out as it always seems to go by so fast. We met up as a famly for my Dad’s birthday, and all the preparations and discussions seemed to go on for weeks, in a nice way, and then it was all over and there was a big pile of washing up.

Some of my most spiritual moments have been when I’ve been able to be “present” in the here and now, and try and block out the future and the past. Most psychologists would say that the past is a living part of us, especially when we are carrying trauma or suffering around with us as a painful memory.

Other faiths also focus on mindfulness, and mediation, and the Christian tradition is perhaps less famous for this. Time apart from the world was really important to Jesus though, some stories describe him trying to get away from the crowds to be alone, or wandering off in the night when the disciples were asleep to be alone for a while.

As 1930’s writer Marie Beynon Ray put it: 

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake.”

So, this term I’m setting myself some homework of making space and enjoying “now” more.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P,Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z