Friday, October 19, 2007

Saving myself

Might be shooting myself in the foot by putting off all those of you who are kind enough to pop by here on a relatively regular basis, but i've not been blogging because I plan to do lots of it in November! With all the usual busy-ness of life it seemed easier to let the blog slide for a bit before the mad spate of writing in a couple of weeks.

It's been a very good few weeks. I'm in the midst of taking stock of where I am and what I'm doing here... The kind of thing a minister should do on an almost daily basis, but we often career headlong through life trying to keep up with ourselves and don't reflect and contemplate anything like as much as we should.

There is an Irony in this, because I seem to spend so much time telling people to chill out - encouraging prayerful reflection on life, whilst at the same time finding myself living at high speed. The circumstances of the last year or so haven't helped, with one colleague on long term sick leave and another taking maternity leave, whilst lots of (often very good) things have been happening which have needed time and nurture from me.

In my defence, I do still take time to read and to pray, its not that I am a complete hypocrite! We all need some stillness, no matter how gregarious and energetic we are by nature. I'm struck by Elijah whose experience of God in 1 KIngs 19 was not that God was found in the whirlwind or earthquake or storm, but in the 'still, small voice'. Though we believe that God is present in all things, even in the storm, there are times when we need to stop and listen for that whisper of God amidst the maelstrom of life...

So, having recently received from my Bishop a license to minister in these parishes for another seven years, i have been wondering whether that's what I should be doing! Not just because I am bloody-minded, but because it is easy to become complacent, comfortable in the familiar, even though life can be hard and the work almost constant! I love these parishes I serve, my wife and family love living here, but as part of my process of reflection I need to ask whether this place is the right place, and whether I am the right person to minister to these parishes at this time.

Hence a lack of blogging. Most of my musing at this stage is an internal thing, not an 'out there' thing, and so much of it is not really for public consumption. Perhaps some of the thoughts of this past few weeks will come out during my NaBloPoMo, perhaps not...

I'll try not to leave it a week before I post again, though.


Marion said...

It'll be interesting to see where your inner reflection will lead you, Alastair. Sometimes, it is just time to do some hard thinking.

I think it's great that you recognize it within yourself, and are willing to do the work required to find out what you need.

Naomi said...

It's always interesting sometimes to take a step back and reflect on things Alastair. Although sometimes life and God have a funny way of leading us where they want us to go. I always believe people end up in a place for a reason, whatever that may be. From what I've read on your blog, it sounds like you do a wonderful job of ministering to your parishes. I know what you mean about having enough time. I haven't posted properly for over a week and am only just getting round to visiting friends' blogs. That's life unfortunately Alastair!

quilly said...

Alastair -- trust God to lead you in the direction he would have you go. He's lead me to pre-school. I know not why yet, but I trust he knows what he's doing and I am giving it my best effort.

Dr.John said...

I spent a lot of time in prayer and meditation about where I should serve. I ended up in the same parish for thirty five years. But over that timer both the parish and I kept changing. God called me to work on a Dr. of Ministry degree during which the seminary staff evaluated my parish and my ministry. I ended up hearing in my head the words of one of the workshops I went to. You don't belong in a rural parish until you be long in the place.

Cindrarella said...

Sounds like you are right where you ought to be, doing what you ought to, and finding out where you should end up. That's cool.

Nick said...

It's funny all ths talk of stepping back. someone close to me recently stumbled on an old blog popst of mine where i had spoken of perspective as to how when an artist does a big project, he has to get close up to the canvas he's working one and can only see the part of the work he is painting at that time... in order to see where to go next and what to do... he needs to step back several paces and look at the picture as a whole... to take stock of what has been done and perhaps what needs to be done... from a different perspective.

I like to think it's like that with God's plan. Most of the time we are right up against the canvas, because we are living life... and we cannot see how the short term things we are doing fit into God's plan.... but sometimes God in his grace grants us the opportunity to step back and hear him whispering where we fit in with regard to the big picture.

It's interesting you spoke of the situation with Elijah as well, because at the point you described him... he had just comed down from an incredibly powerful high moment in his prophetical calling... and yet he felt so dejected. God met him where he was, reaffirmed his calling and gave him new challenges/responsibilities.

I've always been comforted by God's provision to elijah just before that passage:

"Get up, eat, drink for the journey is too much for you."

I felt I should pray for you a couple of weeks ago... so I did, just though yopu should know.