Monday, December 26, 2011

resisting the post-christmas rush

The world went fairly still yesterday. Apart from my friends who work in health services, most people and their families were fortunate to have a complete day of work off which didn't come out of their annual leave. From our perspective: from a flat that looks out onto a busy road, that was literally the case. Yesterday I barely heard a car; this morning I was woken up by a persistent car horn. The traffic has most definitely resumed. My email inbox has received a flurry of "Boxing Day Deals" and I know some high street shops will have had people queueing outside eager to get in there and get their bargains.The TV certainly didn't stop over Christmas, it's a hive of Christmas specials and films and advice on how to cook the best roast dinner. The temptation is certainly there to leap back in, to embrace the hectic and the crazy and the mindless and the empty rush that precedes and follows the 25th December. But I'm actively resisting today.

Christmas is such a stress fest for so many people, some out of choice, some not. I consider myself fortunate in that regard and particularly pity those who work in retail. We went on a ridiculously late food shop the other night in prep for Christmas dinner just for a laugh and got chatting to the cashier who was definitely feeling the pressure of work and having to balance this with Christmas shopping and caring for and cooking Christmas dinner for her ageing dad. I find it sad that Christmas has been turned into this: a bunch of boxes you have to tick, expectations you have to meet. As you will be aware if you've read any of my previous Christmas posts, I do love all the trappings and the tinsel and the carols and the mince pies and the excuse to cook and eat yum food and see family. But all this rush and stress that comes along with it for some people, just for one day.,, just seems ridiculous.

I am so aware right now as I listen to the traffic this Boxing Day morning, that in our culture, we need rest, we need space, we need to "Be still and know God", we need to know that these words you see on Christmas cards "hope, joy peace, love" aren't merely platitudes but are fully available and there for the taking, in and because of that Godwhobecameaman baby in the story. Come in God, interrupt our busy lives and open our eyes to the reality of you.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

being grateful

The last few days have been pretty wet and dreary here in Glasgow (though perhaps a good op to capture some good rain photos - see previous blog post) and I have been racked with tiredness, but my days have been pretty full and I'm lifting my eyes up and remembering the beauty and the goodness I have experienced over the last wee while.

I got one of those once in a lifetime chances to play in the band in a minority languages competition described rather favourably here. It's a long time since I've seen such incredible views on a flight and every single one of our four flights had them, one breath-taking sunrise, plains-worth of clouds from a top-down view, two lots of spectacular mountains! Udine itself was a medium-sized, quirky, Italian town nearer to Slovenia than Venice, friendly (sometimes too friendly) locals, delicious hams and wines, some pretty architecture - and we had a lot of fun there!

In Udine and in other places there has been much good music, both getting to play, getting to listen to and getting to dance to enjoyed. Genres to dance to have included some crazy drums at a jungle-stylee worship night, and Austrian Croat reggaerockrap.

After about 6 weeks without it, thanks to a belated visit to the doctor's, I have finally regained my sense of smell. I am soooo appreciating this right now. I had been drinking mostly hot ribena because tea smelt of nothing and tasted bland (heart-breaking when you have a large and eclectic tea collection) I hadn't realised how much the lack of smell was affecting my taste-buds (there's a thought in that!), I've been bowled over by just about everything I've been eating - and I'd like to keep that level of appreciation up!

I also am very grateful for the variety of good times spent with good friends. I love every moment I get to spend my with my Chinese mums esol class:- I always come out of there with a massive smile on my face! I am feeling very appreciative of my roomie right now having spent most of the last 2 weeks without him.

I am also especially grateful to have a God who doesn't give up on me and who is always always always faithful and loving - flipping amaaaazing!