Statio

There’s a word for where we are at the moment – Statio. It means “the practice of stopping one thing before beginning another. It is the acknowledgement that in the spacethreshold1_0 of transition and threshold is a sacred dimension, a holy pause full of possibility.” (Christine Valters Painter PhD)

Ok so we are stopped between one thing and the next but have we really acknowledged that this is what we are doing? To a point, No! What we really want to do is move on. We are both struggling with the lack of knowing what tomorrow might bring, the lack of things in the diary to keep the world in order, the lack of something to get up for. We are packed, the house is clean, we’ve done our goodbyes, we have finished work. All is done! And we are struggling. We want to be working, filling the diary with new things, unpacking, planning. But we are in Statio – stopping between the end of one thing and the beginning of the other.

thresholdThe challenge is “In this in-between place of stillness, can you consciously and with intention, release what came before and prepare to enter fully into what comes next?” So can we? Are we willing and able to release what came before and prepare for what comes next? And what does that mean in practise?

For me I think a lot of it meant realising who I was really saying goodbye to and what friends I was always going to be in touch with, realising who I have a heart connection with. Like my friend who I have journeyed through her marriage and her husband’s suicide, we are joined at the heart forever because of what we both endured. I can never let her go. For many of my friendship it is an endurance, which isn’t as bad as it sounds, but of moving away, keeping in touch via letter, email, phone calls, and of knowing what we have done once we can do again. So for me the preparing comes with looking at relationship.

After reading this from Abbey of the Arts this morning, whilst out walking the dog instead05-lambs-on-the-cliffs-ruth-walking-the-gower-peninsula of saying that we wouldn’t be doing this walk for much longer I said goodbye to things; to the sparrows, the sheep, the trees, the styles, etc. I will do that again tomorrow and the next day – consciously say goodbye to things that are very much part of my dog walking landscape. As I drive through our town I will start to say goodbye to things too, things that I’ve been use to, even things that annoy me. The town I live in is a beautiful town but I don’t think we will come back and visit it much after we’ve gone, and if we do it will be as visitors not as residents anyway.

I am going to work on releasing the experiences that I have had here, some good, some bad, some really horribly, some amazing. I will let them go and let them stay in this place. That doesn’t mean that I will box them up and try to forget them but that they will become a part of here.

il_570xn-678785025_23y4And I will start to prepare for what comes next. I’m already on 2 agencies for working in schools with either learning support or teaching assistant jobs. I have things that I have acquired to go in my new “room-of-my-own”. But also I am going to pray and release the things to come that I do not know of. A friend prayed for us last Sunday and asked of Diane and Ian shaped spaces where we are going and for good neighbours and friends. I am a people person, as recognised with the importance of relationships earlier on in this, and for me people are part of the tapestry of what is to come. Also if we are offering hospitality then we do need people in that equation 🙂

We are off on Friday to spend a week in Anglesey. Dear Ian will only get a 2 day holiday because he has to start work on Monday but I am hoping that having me close to come home to each evening will help his transition into the next stage of his working life. I can be praying and supporting because also I have realised that my marriage is something that I need to be supportive of. This has come out of this “statio” time, of letting go and welcoming in. Again the prayer last Sunday was that we would remember why we got old_windmill_no-_2_at_gaerwen_anglesey_-_geograph-org-uk_-_48070married to each other. This week has not been easy with the uncertainty that has gone on and I can do my bit to support, even if it is just being there a week on Monday to welcome Ian home with a cooked meal and a listening ear.

So my plan (&I am a natural planner, that’s how God made me) for these next 6 days here is to consciously let go of here and consciously welcome in what is to come – even though I don’t know what that will be. I know now that I don’t need dates and fixtures but I do need a rough idea of how to spend my time. We’ve other things to do, like say goodbye to our rabbit for a while who is going into long term fostering with a friend, and some seeing people stuff, but on the whole it will be a statio time of letting go and waiting.

Trust and Vulnerability

86I’ve been chewing over this post for a while. It’s really about living in the liminal place, which sounds so cool when you talk of it as that spiritual place between earth and heaven but the word means inbetween place. And this is where we are, living in that place between places. Our possessions are packed in boxes. We have done our round of goodbyes. We’ve finished our jobs. But we cannot take up new jobs, sort our new house out ready for the whole hospitality thing, can’t get to know our new neighbourhood. It is an odd place to be.

In one of my regular emails this came up:

Have you found your own, unique sense of purpose for your life? Do you have a vision of what your life might encompass if you chose to live it from your deepest desires and yearnings, from the place of that which you value above all else? What would your life look like if you lived it in accordance with your authentic self?

See now this whole thing of purpose and vision I sort of looked at over October and November when we put the house up for sale and found the new one. For me that whole Patchwork quiltbit of know the vision and the why were sort of easy. Ok not overly but they were things God had been brewing in me, and in my husband, over a number of years, both together and individually. The thing is though they involved moving and place. These questions from Abbey of The Arts actually says about what would my life look like if I lived with my authentic self, not what would it look like if I moved to the right place. It caught me a bit unawares this morning but as I pondered I could see that what I have been doing is saying to myself and probably to God that I can be all the things He has said in the vision once we move to Abergele. This mornings questions say can I live it now?

 

The above paragraph was what I was going to explore but actually I am wondering if maybe we are not meant to be living the vision yet but are meant to be living in the liminal place, in that place of neither one thing or the other, that place of not planning. There was something said at church yesterday which I interpreted as people wanting to see how we lived though uncertainty and change. It wasn’t that the world wants answers but that they want to see how we really live. How am I living not in my vision but in my place between places?

hidingbehindwall-1I think often what is seen by those who don’t go to church is a load of people going to church services, pretending everything is ok, and yet hiding something. I do think in our modern church services we’ve tried too often to show God as the answer to everything when in fact He is the supreme being to hold on to, to shout at, to be hugged by, to be vulnerable with. God is about relationship in life not about answers to stuff we don’t even know the questions for.

Today I woke up all excited like a child on Christmas morning. Does this mean we are moving this week? Who knows. That isn’t in my hands at all to say, but what I do know is that even in this inbetween place I am excited about moving. Last week I was so caught up in wanting to know and then of wondering and angsting about trusting God that I lost my excitement. We are moving. It will happen. When? We don’t know but it will happen and I i-can-t-be-calm-i-m-too-excitedwant to hang on to the excitement of what will come; the walks on the beach, having a room of my own for writing, the guests we will be having, the new stuff, the spa I want to join.

As I wrote that I wonder too if we have forgotten the excitement of heaven, of Jesus coming again, whichever we get to first. It is going to be so amazing, but we have got lost in living in this inbetween place, this life on earth. We’ve either got worn down with the cares of life or of wanting to gather us to come with us but in fact we, as Christians who know what is to come – even if we don’t know the details it will be living with God for ever and ever and eternity. We should be like small children filled with that buzz and excitement.

Oh I love the fact that God can take my situation – moving – and turn it round to make me look at Him and what is to come. Wow!!!

One Day At A Time

I had a lovely response from a dear friend after yesterday’s blog which is probably the first time I’ve really seen Christianity and Mindfulness fully tie in together. He said: “Like an eagleisaiah40v31kjvalcoholic who needs to take one day at a time and say, ‘Today I am not going to have a drink’ similarly trust in God, surrendering to Him, is not worrying about tomorrow or the next day or next week but deciding to say each day, ‘Today I am going to fully trust God in all things’. This state allows us to live in and out of His will for us and therefore instills His Peace in our lives.”

So I took this and today as I was led in bed just said “Today Lord I’m going to trust you as best I can.” So if anyone asks me how long I’ve been a Christian I will say “today I’ve been following Jesus for  x hours”.

When I woke too this chorus came to mind

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

And I’ve been humming it all day. So often I think as a Christian I’ve seen it as a long haul and that I’ve got to be able to say something to others. I do have a great testimony in loadsone_day_at_a_time_by_franknardi2-d4s3yq8 of areas but at times I slip, at times its hard, but actually I can pick myself up and start again each day.  I think there can be times when I am especially hard on myself and think that I haven’t been honest or trusting God and really that is just me being accused by the Devil/enemy/inner self. I have had some amazing times when I’ve been trusting God for so much and then there have been times when I have crashed. If I can see myself as continually being resurrected and it not being  a once and once only event then I can happily sing “one day at at time sweet Jesus” rather than “let me know the plans in detail”. And there will be days when I crash, like I did on the weekend, and lose sight of if all but then there will be other times when I know where to go.

3wb37-07ongoingconversion4x5The last post wasn’t the first time I’ve been honest about where I am with God in my struggles and I don’t expect it will be the last. I am a work in progress and my testimony is built not in how I fall but in how I get up; not in the fact that I can keep going but in who I turn to when I’m crashed in the dirt.

So today, even though there are still many issues with the whole house buying thing and the person who could sort it is “out of the office” (on holiday?) till tomorrow, I feel at peace with God, with life and with the whole moving process.

I also feel grateful to the friends I have that don’t let me walk this alone. Sometimes their challenges are harsh but, as with the last few days, I finally feel like I’ve got it. I want to shout from the rooftops that this whole Christianity/following Jesus thing is something we need to want to do every day. It’s not about going to church. In fact we can hide in going to church, and often that is the complaint from those who don’t give the whole Jesus thing a go. (More on this to follow tomorrow – hopefully – as I don’t want to change the emphasis of today’s post)

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Julian of Norwich   156980

 

Prayer – Not the answers expected

This whole house moving thing is stressful and so we’ve had people walking along side us interceding for us and many email back with messages of support. I sent an email update out on Sunday because of feeling so frustrated about not yet having a date to move. Some pen-282604_1280of the replies that came back were empathetic, some encouraging but some just wound me up. I started journalling about it this morning and then took the dog for a long walk. It is beautiful and frosty this morning and the sun had just come up and was making things glisten. A great day for a long walk.

What started as journalling I unpacked as I walked looking at how and why I had reacted to some of the email messages the way I had. One of the replies I had that really bugged me said: “he wants you to learn how to let go of your plans and ‘need to know’ and to allow Him to be the natural planner. When we can relax into the letting go of our own control and planning to settle into the peace of each present moment with God, then we learn how to surrender all to Him. Then we will be ready to move on into a new place of trust in Him and all will be revealed.”  This came from a friend who regularly challenges me so I did stop and think about it. I know I have posted on this before but what struck me is that I do not trust God.

Oh yes a biggie to say and not many places one can say it out loud but out in the frost frosty-winter-sunrise-1covered empty fields this morning I was able to tell God that I didn’t trust Him and listed the ways that I felt He had let me down. The list was long. It included healings that never happened and the people died, marriages that failed, dreams that never happened and were squashed, people I’ve prayed for who still are happy not in relationship with God and more. But it was not just that I didn’t trust God but also that I didn’t trust people and there are a lot of people involved in a house move that need to be trusted; buyers, sellers, estate agents and solicitors, removal companies, and friends and family. I told God all the people who I felt had let me down; friendships that were no longer close as they were, hurts and times of not being able to be open, church leaders who I felt weren’t there for me, and also the suicides and drownings we experienced. There were 4 people who let me down majorly, I felt.

So here I am at a place where I have to trust God and trust others and feeling like I can’t. No wonder I feel really stressed. If this was going to be a “good evangelistic post” I would now say that God said/did something, but He didn’t. No, but what He did was listen, and that was what I needed, just someone to listen without making a judgement call. I walked and talked and unloaded and cried and He just walked with me and let me. It was also interesting that once I had reach a point of peace with my feelings that I bumped into someone I knew to chat to. So I suppose yes God did do something, He let me talk myself to a place of peace.

peace-in-chaosHow do I feel now? I’m still struggling with the waiting and the not having a date but I feel much more peaceful with the struggle. Sometimes, I believe, we need to wrestle with God and with our thoughts and emotions. We need to be honest and open. I now understand why I’m struggling and through that reflection I now have peace with my feelings. This is very much what Mindfulness teaches. It isn’t about pretending that I’m ok, that I trust God, but accepting that I’m struggling. I think that this is what God really wants from all of us, not that we are sorted but that we accept how we are doing at this moment in time.

But also I know I couldn’t have done it without those I have included to ask to pray for us through this part of our journey. Even if I am at a point where I am struggling to trust people I have to include them in my journey. I suppose too that even if I am struggling with God I need to trust Him in my journey.

Peace comes by being open and honest

 

Honouring!

vessel-of-honorA friend of mine writes extensively about honouring and I have tried for years to put it into practise. This morning though I was praying and meditating over some questions from Abbey of the Arts around starting the new year’s journey and what giftings one would bring, etc. I was happily listing mine and what I would share with others and how much I encourage and support people when I felt a gentle God nudge. I really felt I had to email my solicitor and say sorry for being rude. And once I got that nudge it wouldn’t let up and I couldn’t get any peace. So at 7.30am I was emailing the solicitor to say sorry for being rude but also felt able not to justify why I was rude but to explain why I was struggling with things.

I felt that the way I had behaved yesterday to her had not been honouring to her. In fact I’d almost been threatening, in a very low key way. Passive daab236dfa666f58eb8f024c4af3a0c9aggressive! It really was a case of looking at her as also a person in my world that I need to be kind to, to encouraging and remember that she is also made in the image of God, as are we all, or so I believe. Made in the image of God doesn’t mean that all people have to believe in God, Jesus, etc, but if I am to believe God made people I have to believe that He made all people, even my solicitor.

Well I was not expecting anything really back but I did get a response and in it she explained about the process that goes into buying a house, why it does take so long and what stage they had got to, and also that she was hurrying things along. Did I say sorry and act honouring to her to get a good response? No I didn’t. But through honouring her I got that response.

32ea802da3852cbb7404799e48eec0cdIt made me think of another exercise I am working through with Brene Brown around Trust. The first exercise is to look at things you put in your “marble jar” that help you trust people and what things hinder that. It dawned on me that I trust people who are open and honest to me, but also people who let me be me. and also those who admit when they’ve made a mistake and let me make mistakes. In the correspondence with my solicitor I broke down the barriers that were stopping me from trusting her. Yes I had to make the first move to get a marble in my marble jar but that was worth it.

As always Richard Rohr is on the same page and puts thing so succinctly:

‘Intimacy is another word for trustful, tender, and risky self-disclosure. None of us can go there without letting down our walls, manifesting our deeper self to another, and allowing the flow to happen. Often such vulnerability evokes and allows a similar vulnerability from the other side. Such was the divine hope in the humble revelation of God in the human body of Jesus.’

So for me the people who put marbles in my marble trust jar are people who behave trustfully and tender towards me and who disclose somethingvulnerability2 of themselves, but who also trust me and see me as tender and accepting, as vulnerable yet wanting to share. And I suppose this is a bit of what I did with the solicitor; not just saying sorry and leaving it at that but saying sorry and explaining why I was uptight.

Sometimes we are told to just “say sorry” but often, I believe, it is more helpful is we can explain why. So not so much “I’m sorry but …” but “I’m sorry for my behaviour and here are my fears/concerns which made me behave that way.” It is still keeping ownership and not saying the other person is to blame but it is also saying that I have a reason, however unreasonable, for my behaviour. It is not to excuse. In fact by saying “sorry and this is the reason” it makes one more vulnerable and allows the other person to be vulnerable. And vulnerability builds up trust but also is honour because it is about being open. If I am open to say how I feel but give room for the other person to say how they feel I am honouring them.

vulnerability21So one could say that I did have a good reason to be snappy with my solicitor but it was not honouring, but in saying sorry and explaining my side I have given space for her to explain and honour me too!

Just Happen? Or For a Reason?

bv-12xycyaasuoc1How often when something happens do we respond with “there must be a reason …” or “it must be part of the plan” or another sort of divine meant to be sort of phrase, when really it’s just the way it is.

We went to look round our new house on Saturday and the people we are buying from had had a huge clear out and had got rid of some of the furniture we were planning to buy from them. Our response was “I’m sure that was what the right thing.” It means we will just have our stuff in the house and we talked about it being all ours, etc.

But I think often we try to justify events as either good or bad, meant to bequote-trying-to-justify-a-world-we-don-t-hold-all-the-answers-to-is-what-bedevils-the-best-megan-chance-80-69-49 or not meant to be, rather than just stuff happens. The reason the people we are buying from got rid of their furniture is that they are organised people who, once they knew they had a buyer, got on and cleared out what they didn’t want to take with them. Fate or personality?

One of the issues we had to walk through during 2012/13 was whether the multiple things we walked through were meant to happen, and if they were then why all at the same time. In the end a wise counselling friend said that it was nothing to do with us why all these things happened. That they were individual deaths that we just happened to know all the people because of our relationship with each other. In fact if my husband and I hadn’t been married I would only have had one untimely death to deal with and he would have had two, instead of us both having 4! But there was no lesson that some supreme being was trying to teach us, nothing we had done that needed us to learn. It just happened.

can-stock-photo_csp12889658I know the furniture being sold that we wanted was no where near on the same scale but it got me thinking of the same thing, and there was no reason; there is nothing for us to learn. It is just that it happened and we need to get on and do something about it.

That is another thing, one can spend ages pondering the whys and whatevers and what should we learn from it, but in the end one does just have to get up and keep going. So for us at this time it means not wondering if God is teaching us something about timing, or that we are f62a560150aec2b8634f09cbb1792478going to learn how to furniture shop together – though that will be interesting. And even if it is we do still have to just pick ourselves up and get on and buy!!

So What Have I Done This Year?

I write the family Christmas newsletter but really it is just a snapshot of things we’ve all done and I miss out things that I’ve done and things that they’ve done too. So in reflection of the John and Yoko song “So this is Christmas … another year over and what have we done?” I thought I would look at what I’ve done.

It was at the beginning of January in my new journal diary that I wrote “Boldness to search for my true dreams and to walk them out.” To being with things didn’t go as expected …

  • I’ve had a poem published on a Mindfulness website
  • I’ve been hung out with some amazing writers in the South West and enjoyed some Sundays and a whole bank holiday weekend with them
  • I’ve realised that even though I’m a great encourager and youth worker, which makes me a great learning support mentor and assistant, I am a rubbish tutor and easily sidetracked – into youth working and encouraging.
  • Again I’m a great encourager and supporter but doing someone’s admin isn’t fun even if they find me helpful and my presence in their office encouraging.
  • I’ve been to Dublin to pray with the Interweave group
  • I’ve been up to the Isle of Arran and enjoyed time with friends and time alone and time with my husband
  • I’ve realised I don’t need to keep going to the end and if I stop one thing then a door can open to another – I stopped the Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes MSc at PGCert stage which then opened the door for Ian and I to do something together
  • And that something was to plot and plan and sell our house and make the move to Abergele in North Wales.
  • I’ve been in a play in which I wrote my own script and have been asked to collaborate with the director and other writer again.
  • I went for 2 interviews and got both of them but only took the one which actually led to a huge leap in confidence for me 🙂
  • I’ve had lunches and drank coffee with wonderful friends over the year
  • I’ve driven miles to support my children in what they do and will continue to be that sort of mum – supporting, encouraging and mentoring.
  • I went to Greenbelt and volunteered in The Tank again this year though without my daughter, but this time spent lots of time with a lovely friend I hadn’t seen in ages, and deepened a friendship with a fellow blogger
  • I’ve blogged intermittently over the year on things I want to share, gaining some friends through what I’ve written and losing others.
  • I’ve looked after 4 fish and 2 shrimps for 12 months now
  • Taken our last chicken to her retirement home before we move
  • Walked miles with my dog in all winds and weathers
  • And so much more that I know once I send this post that I will think of other things

So this is my year in bullet point. I’ve enjoyed it and wonder what will come of next year. The word I have written in my diary is “Blank Page – wait for the writer to write

I know each year never turns out how I expected but I must say that this is the first year I’ve felt like I’m standing on the threshold not having a clue. All I know is that at some point in the next 3 weeks we will be on the move to Abergele. I don’t even know the date for that. And what will our lives look like in Abergele? Who knows? But I do know it will be an adventure and I can walk with God, and with friends old and new.

WATCH THIS SPACE!