Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sacrament of the Present Moment

Yesterday was one of those fabulous, good-to-be-alive days! I woke really early and went up to my office. From my desk you can usually see the Cleveland Hills and Sutton Bank in one direction and the moors above Nidderdale in the other. There was a thick mist covering everything and I worried momentarily about having to drive up Wensleydale later in the day. I needn't have been anxious. The mist lifted to reveal one of those glorious May days; golden sunshine and all the trees and hedgerows still fresh with the new life of spring! On days like this I can't think of a better job than being archdeacon of this wonderful part of the world. There's nothing better than roaming the lanes singing a heartfelt gloria for the sheep to enjoy through the open car window! Even the initially annoying discovery that the road at Bedale was closed turned into an advantage as I discovered a new cut-through from the A1 to Hackforth and Patrick Brompton. I felt about 18 all over again - although I would have been on a bike then,  and not in a car.

photo Dave Challoner

I had five meetings during the day. During the course of these I found myself, ice-cream in hand, sharing the cheerful jostle of market day in Hawes and then, later, admiring the stunning view across the top end of Wensleydale from a beautiful garden. I also found myself exerting my mental capacity to full stretch in order to understand the constitution required for a new Board of Directors in Harrogate and I made one really serious mistake which I apologised for but still felt cross with myself about. I had to pay an unexpectedly large bill on my car's service (you simply can't be without a well-functioning vehicle in this job) and I spent an hour talking about spiritual direction with someone who reminded me about the importance of the sacrament of the present moment - God is right where we are here and now, today, not off in some future place of our dreams and aspirations.


photo Dave challoner

It was less easy to rejoice in the moment when I got home at 10pm to find a huge pile of logs that had been delivered ready for next winter blocking our drive. Stacking logs in the dark after a day that started at 5am certainly means you sleep well! It also helps you feel less frustrated by the reports coming out of the House of Bishops' meeting where the next stage in the wrangling over women bishops had taken its controversial course.

It was certainly a day on which to be thankful for the rich variety of life!

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