My dear friends,
I’ve spent a month recovering from my hernia operation and feeling all the constraints of my body not being able to do all that I would’ve liked it to do as fast as I would’ve liked it to do. In addition, well intentioned people have been telling me that I shouldn’t be doing x or y or z. This has given me a fresher perspective on some things that I share with you now as we all take a break to recreate and recharge in readiness for beginning again in September. July and August are technically holiday months but, for some, they are far from restful or relaxing. But, as organisations, schools and the like do take a break, then it does provide a chance to pause, to take stock and to re-evaluate and appreciate. One of the things I had to come to terms with was my frustration at not being able to do all the things I had been so used to doing. Things I normally take for granted created more and more irritation at my not being able to do them when I should have been enjoying the rest and recuperation. I should have taken the chance to sit and listen to the birds, to enjoy sewing, to finish a book I started when on holiday last October and to take short walks with my dog Benjy. I could have spent more quality time with my Creator, just to ‘be’ with him, instead of rushing from this place to that place. Instead, I focussed on what I couldn’t do, not what I could, the negatives rather than the positives.
I spoke to my Spiritual Director about it and, as someone who has been plagued by osteoarthritis for years, she said she too felt frustrated. Gradually though, bit by bit, she let go. As she did so, God opened new doors to her, new avenues of creativity in her card making, in her encouraging and nurturing others to aid her in the taking of services and in preparing for commissioning as leaders and readers and so on. She learnt, as I did, that in every situation you can focus on either the negatives or the positives. You can lament the past instead of enjoying and committing to the present and anticipating the future.
I happened to be in Ireland in 2011 when both the Queen and Barak Obama visited in the same year. Some people said it would never happen, but others believed it could and should and worked tirelessly for it. They never gave up, despite numerous setbacks and much frustration, and found a way to make it a possibility and a reality. They focussed on what could happen, not what couldn’t, and committed to it 100%, no if’s or buts or maybes.
I remember being struck by something Barak Obama said on that visit as he addressed a group of students. He told them: ‘You can, because you think you can!’.
Isn’t that true of us all? Many times I sit in church or school governors’ meetings when we seem to focus on what we can’t do because of lack of finance, people or resources. We should look at what we can do, what we really believe could and should happen, and commit
to them, build on them, grow them, develop them, until they are the best that they can be.
Others might join us, catch the vision, add what they can do, and suddenly things aren’t so bleak and hopeless. Who would have thought, when Jesus was hanging from the cross, that over 2000 years later people would be inspired by his story? Who would have thought, after the early church was so persecuted, that it would now be a worldwide organisation with thousands of members? Who would have thought…? But he is, and it is. We can, because we think we can! We can because God can. Do you believe that? Are you committed to that? I leave you with words by Frances de Sales that I recently came across in my daily reading: ‘Lord, Thy will be done in father, mother, child, in everything and everywhere; without a reserve, without a BUT, an IF, or a limit.’
Happy holidays! Til next time…Every blessing