Some years ago I joined a group in church following the practice of Julian of Norwich who lived a life of contemplation. The idea was to sit quietly for half an hour. During this time it was important to clear your mind as much as possible and sit and listen for to see if God might want to say something. As I have always been told that I spend too much time doing ,and not enough time listening this appeared to the perfect opportunity. I tried. I really did. On some occasions I managed to completely relax and push aside the pressing matters of the day. Sadly at those times I was in real danger of falling asleep and not wanting to be the only person present who was snoring I immediately tensed and my mind the had to concentrate hard on staying awake and not listening at all!.
This week I decided to try again. I have no urgent things to do and nowhere to be so I thought it might be easier to let my mind become quiet. My home is calm and the garden a pleasant place to relax. I found a comfortable seat outside and let my mind become a blank canvas. I had been sitting for no more than two minutes when my washing machine discharged its dirty water into the grid nearby! Settling again I could feel the sun on my face and the peace of my garden and once more my mind drifted. Just then a robin landed in the bird bath and proceeded to splash happily, and noisily,around . I was completely distracted and spent the next few minutes watching his antics. Not to be deterred I moved to the bottom of the garden and made another attempt. Within a few minutes my neighbour, who had noticed me sitting very still, came out to ask me if I was alright or if I needed some help. I gave up! I have resigned myself to thinking that if God wants me to do something he will let me know some other way.
On Tuesday I noticed that one of my tyres on my car looked very soft so I drove off to the garage to check all my tyres. Two days later the warning light was showing again indicating I still had a problem. This now involved a trip to the local tyre garage. I always feel out of my comfort zone in these places as generally speakingI have no idea what Im talking about. The first thing I was asked was where was my locking wheel nut. I wasnt sure whether this was a joke, a bit like the apprentice bricklayer who is sent to the builders merchant to buy sky hooks! Yes that really does happen. Anyway it appears I am supposed to have one of these nuts but a futile search of the car proved that I hadnt
And without it they were unable to change the tyre. This resulted in a visit to the garage where my car is serviced and after another search of the car they agreed that they must have lost it. I arranged a second visit to give them time to get another nut and at the agreed time arrived for the work to be done. I was given a curtesy car to use for the day as the work involved breaking the nuts on all four wheels and replacing them with new ones. On returning I was told the work and what turned out to be a slow puncture had been repaired free of charge. I am so glad I didnt go in with all guns blazing! They apologised, did the work without charge and gave me a brand new car to use while I waited. Its probably the most excitement I’ve had since the lockdown.
I have had visits from friends this week. Roger and Gaynor had a socially distanced coffee at the front door. Two other friends visited separately and I had coffee with one and lunch with the other. How conversations have changed. No longer are we describing lunches out, theatre visits or recently taken holidays. Now it is all about whether we have managed to get a shopping delivery or had a video call with other friends and family. It was lovely to see them all in almost normal circumstances. It did however make the house feel very empty when they had gone and I had to tell myself sternly, how lucky I am to have friends who have taken the time to see me. When I think of the millions in the world who dont have fresh water or soap to wash their hands I realise I am not only lucky but also very blessed!