An ordinand’s musings

Just being

There is plenty to muse on at the moment though I don’t seem to be finding the time to muse as much as I had thought I would. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t felt particularly well – it’s not certain that I have had COVID-19 but I’ve definitely had something –  and am therefore lacking energy, but I haven’t managed to achieve all the things that lockdown should enable me to achieve. Or so I think.

When churches were first closed there was a great rush to work out how to ‘do’ church, and there was lots of planning and learning new technology which Alan, ill at the time, somehow managed to work on. There was information to get out, people to contact, offers of help to make and receive. And I certainly needed to be doing something.

Work is smoother now as we adjust to this new ‘normal’, but I still feel the need to do, particularly as I hear about people who are out there on the front line. I can’t do that, obviously, and at the moment all I can do is be at home putting out information where possible which I know is something.

I’m not good at just ‘being’ and this is true of a lot of us. We feel that we must achieve, be the best, or at least as good as anyone else we see with their beautiful smiles/houses/dogs/cars/jobs/delete-as-appropriate.

Obviously social media has exacerbated this tendency, but I think it has always been with us. Women are reported as feeling it more than men (there are a couple of interesting articles about this here and here). And now that we are in lockdown we are finding new ways of beating ourselves up about what we are or are not achieving. This is the perfect time to learn a language/practise a craft/spring clean/do the garden/bake bread (OK, no flour in the shops so that’s out)/meditate/pray more/read/write that novel/do keep fit etc etc etc. All those things we ‘should’ be doing.

I have a spiritual director –  a wise nun who has lived a long time and is also named Stella – and she is forever telling me to get rid of the word ‘should’ from my vocabulary as I tangle myself up in knots trying to work out what I ‘should’ believe. It’s probably also not a bad idea to ban the word in terms of all the things we think we ‘should’ do at this time and spend a bit more time just being. (We should obviously listen to wise nuns!)

It’s something that Jesus seemed to do. He would withdraw to quiet places to pray and that is one of the things on my ‘should do more of’ list, but maybe we could just do a bit more relaxing with God and not beat ourselves up about it. Just something I am musing on.


Serving the Villages North of Farnham: Badshot Lea, Hale, Heath End & Weybourne