There has been a lot of pressure building up in me recently and this last week has been very intense. The background pressure of the pandemic has been brought to a point by some difficult personal relationships, so that I have felt both weighed down and pulled apart. So it was a relief to have a ray of sunlight with a successful safeguarding training session, which I co-facilitated. Then as a bonus a willing volunteer has offered to become our Safeguarding coordinator. This was like a rainbow in a dark sky.
One sign of the pressure has been waking at times in the middle of the night and my brain latching onto the issues that have been preoccupying me during the day. And sometimes it has been waking from a dream which has been the trigger for recollections of the past. One tactic I have used when caught in these sleepless hours is to imagine myself somewhere pleasant, for example lying in the sun in the Dordogne area of France, or sitting in the sun on my allotment listening to birds singing and watching the butterflies on the buddleia.
As a result of one of these dreams in which I seemed to be struggling to create worship, I began to think about what it is that I want and need in ‘worship’. I found myself continuing to reflect on this on Sunday morning. I had thought this through before and those ideas came back again clearly. I first want intellectual stimulation, either inspiration or challenge; something to think about that takes me forward. Then I want to be moved emotionally, even to the point of tears. In fact, I want to be wholly engaged, mind, spirt and body. Sometimes breathing exercises might be enough, but I have found dance also to be helpful. I also want to feel that I belong to a community; that I am in creative relationships with the others who are present with me. Finally, I want this experience of ‘worship’ to affect the way I live, it should be life-changing.
So, stillness and silence can be effective in allowing me to examine myself, but in the end it is not enough. There needs to be exchange between me and others, words, stories, songs etc. I don’t want too many words, nor too much predetermined (if anything at all), but an openness and opportunity for surprise and serendipity.
So, amid the pressure of trustee responsibilities, wrestling with safeguarding issues, dealing with conflict in committees, there are moments of light, times of rest and refreshment, and rainbows in the dark skies.