Jittery day….

There are things to do,

people I could see,

a party to attend.

books to read,

and a meeting scheduled this evening…

there are

services to prepare,

plan that need considering,

and always paperwork to be done….

so far next month has two funerals and a wedding in the diary,

possibly a baptism too,

so there are visits to make,


but today I am jittery,

I cannot settle,

cannot plan,

cannot read,

I have chosen hymns,

made the bed,

swept the floor,

I will go to the party, it’s a 90th celebration!

I will go to the meeting, it’s at my house!

But now a walk I think

to pray and ponder,

but mostly just to simply be….

to walk off the jitters,

and because it will help me to sleep later….


some days simply being is a gift,

and I know it’s a luxury I have,

and maybe allowing the being

will bring life,

and give life,

and that is part of my call…

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Grey day….

it’s grey today, and cool,

after the weekend sun,

lulling me into thinking summer had arrived.

But summer can be grey too,

and of course some days there will be rain,

as the world turns again, again, again,

it is grey today,

but I will embrace it,

put on my coat and boots and walk,

I will breathe the salt sharp air,

and listen to the waves crash,

the world is vibrant and alive

with every soul that has walked it

weaving our stories one by one

with one another,

making connections we never knew ,

there is a time for everything,

birthing and dying,

laughing and weeping,

living becoming somehow continuous

as connections are made,

it is a grey day,

tomorrow there may be sun,

or it could snow,

who knows,

get out, embrace life,

tell your story,

and keep the story of those who inspire you alive…

all shall be well,

all shall be well,

for life is without end….

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Phil- in memory of Phil Wyman who died yesterday

He connected us,

called us friends,

people from all religions and none,

Pagans and Christians joined by his

infectious laugh, his love for all…

he worked through tragedy,

and brought sunshine in its place,

but he was not shallow,

far from it,

a man of deep wisdom,

and a knowledge that was from the soul

rather than the mind,

it bubbled out through his music,

his poetry, his written words,

and the life he lived….

there are so many tributes to you Phil,

we are hungrily following them,

just to catch another glimpse

of your life, the way you touched so many…

I am so thankful that you called me friend,

and that you were my friend too…


Phil’s wisdom: Caritas Rex

Oh how subtle is the distinction between God’s love and God’s law. Yes the law rules. But that ruling law is a law of love. Making the mature and holistic transition from les rex to caritas rex is critical and foundational to both Judaism and Christianity. In the Jesus Way these are not separate concepts. Les rex is caritas rex because the law is love. The person who does not make this transition does not understand the simple and liberating focus of those words that were at the front of our church. “A Christian church which is short on rules but long on relationships. Love God, love others, love yourself…

( From Burning Religion pg. 150-151)

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Being…. ( a reflection before Pride)

I turned the radio off this morning, I usually listen to Saturday live on Radio 4, and I do enjoy it, but today it hit me, no more Richard Coles, don’t get me wrong other presenters are great, but Richard brought something unique to what is an everyday programme in many ways- and for me it isn’t his popstar past, nor his being a vicar, but his queerness- and I acknowledge that queerness may not be a word he likes, as let me put it another way, it is his non-apologetic homosexual presence! Through it he makes room for people like me. Even sitting on my own in my conservatory sipping coffee and listening I felt seen.

Yesterday I led a funeral, nothing unusual in that as a Methodist Minister, but yesterday one of the young congregation members turned up out and proud in her suit and her rainbow laced DMs. As she walked by me on her way in I simply said, love the boots, on the way out she nodded and said you see me, I see you. We made a space for one another.

I think I have spent a huge amount of my life trying not to be seen, being apologetic for who I am, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. A few years ago I went to stay with friends, a group of us went to the beach for the day, we shared food and swam and caught up, and chatted. There was a bit of discussion about how many gays there were on TV these days ( seriously there aren’t- perhaps proportionately the balance is being redressed), it was also noted that we don’t need to see two men or two women kissing, somehow glossing over the numerous straight sex scenes that fill our screens everyday. I squirmed but stayed silent. I stayed safe because I am not sure this was the time to come out to these friends- though they follow me on Facebook, so I suspect they’ve worked it out now.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a parade in my honour, but I will be joining the Pride Parade in Durham at the end of this month just before Pride month begins, and I still note that Pride is a protest even with its carnival atmosphere. It is a day for claiming space and a place in a still often hostile environment. I know that there are people in my churches who believe that I live a sinful lifestyle just by getting up in the morning and being myself, there are others who are accepting of course, and still others who are affirming and do make room for my queerness, and yet every time I go somewhere new I scan the room to see if I am safe. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot not be out, but that for me being out simply means being authentic and making room for myself by loving myself, I have hidden and hated myself for too long, like many I have struggled with internalised homophobia and felt unworthy of love, and even of life.

Thankfully this afternoon I will join a group of friends for a mental health chat, we will share and probably laugh together, and there will be room to simply be. Richard Rohr’s’ meditation yesterday included these words:

We once thought the mission of religion was to expel sin and evil. Through Jesus, we learn that sin lies in the very act of expelling. There is no place to expel it to. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us. We either carry and transform the evil of human history as our own problem, or we only increase its efficiency and power by hating and punishing it “over there.”

Rohr in other places has said that religion too often focuses on what it names as bodily sin and particularly with sexual sin, naming and shaming has been its business. Instead he suggests that any attempt to exclude anyone from the possibility of love, forgiveness and restoration is the greater sin, especially when conducted by those who consider themselves righteous and beyond reproach. Thankfully I am aware that I am neither, and I have to ask myself if perhaps my greatest sin lies in lack of self love, followed by all of the coping mechanisms that has brought forth…

And now the Jehovah’s Witnesses are at my door, standing on my door step and praying, maybe I should stick in my rainbow earrings and go to greet them, but I am still in my PJ’s and it is a sunny Saturday, so I think I will go for a shower and head to the beach instead.

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Pondering- disorientation, re-orientation and flourishing…

I’ve been looking at old posts, including those saved in drafts, when I came across this interesting little number:

Fuck it,

I tried to conform

But I can’t,

I tried to fit in,

tried to win,

play the game....

but I can’t…

There are a lot of cant’s in there, and I have no idea how I had arrived at “fuck it” , but I can feel the frustration, and I wonder as I read it if my frustrations were more with myself than anything else… another draft post contains these thoughts:

I am pondering a quote shared by a friend, from John O’ Donahue’s amazing book Eternal Echoes:

Give yourself time to make a prayer that will become the prayer of your soul. Listen to the voices of longing in your soul. Listen to your hungers. Give attention to the unexpected that lives around the rim of your life. Listen to your memory and to the inrush of your future, to the voices of those near you and those you have lost. Out of all of that attention to your soul, make a prayer that is big enough for your wild soul, yet tender enough for your shy and awkward vulnerability; that has enough healing to gain the ointment of divine forgiveness for your wounds; enough truth and vigour to challenge your blindness and complacency; enough graciousness and vision to mirror your immortal beauty. Write a prayer that is worthy of the destiny to which you have been called.

The sub-title to Eternal Echoes is: -“exploring our hunger to belong”, in many ways echoing the often shared quote from St Augustine:

You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our heat is restless until it finds its rest in you.

I wonder looking back at these two posts if my frustration was an expectation, entirely unreasonably that I would hit the ground running, know what I was doing and even be doing something. Odd because I know that I am someone who needs time to adjust and to reflect and to re-orientate, and as Brueggemann so helpfully reminds us in his work Psalms of Life and Faith, re-orientation needs time, including time to grieve, and of course that the need to re-orientate flows from being disorientated in the first place! Amazon helpfully reminds me I have purchased this book 3 times, I only have one copy now so must have thought it worth giving away, which means it made an impact on me!

So, I am looking back at the things that have disorientated me, and moving home is certainly one, and while my children have been away from home for a long time now, 15 years at the last count, a whirlwind of other changes have meant that empty nest syndrome has taken a while to catch up with me! Again, the loss of my mum, moving, and moving again, divorce, coming out and more have all had impacts, resulted in grieving ( some of which is not finished, and may never be) . So maybe I did need to shout “fuck it” at something, a venting of feelings and thoughts bottled up, and a verbal equivalent of throwing rocks into the sea, something I find very therapeutic, and a joy that being by the sea offers!

I wonder too what I thought I needed to conform to, I know the desire to fit in and to blend into the background is as much a part of my nature as dying my hair pink and wearing bright colours, both of which are masks of a sort, though masks that are becoming more authentically me as I learn to live from the core of who I am rather than trying to be what others want.

Queer Eye has just released a new season, and I binged it, it is therapy too, the central message of the programme, is you are enough, it is okay to be you, and you should be celebrated. You have a unique and God-given gift, claim it live it!

Slowly, slowly I am finding that possible, but also noting when it is too challenging and allowing myself to have downtime, days when I stay home and read a book, days when re-orientating involves doing the laundry or a bit of housework, or days, when like today I take time to take stock, regroup and recharge! Tomorrow I will be back out there, but this I know wherever I am I am held in the love that will not let me go, and wants me to grow!

As for winning, in the piece at the top, I reckon it is overrated!

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wait….. (pondering ascension)

and then he was gone,

we peered into the sky,

trying to see through the heavens,

but he was gone,

and this time really gone,

no more appearances in locked rooms,

no more breakfasts on the beach,


… he left an instruction of course,

“wait” he’d said, “wait!”

…wait for what????

… “power from on high”, he’d said..

… power, what will that look like,

what will that be like,

and what can we do but wait as instructed,

the roller coaster ride continues,

it’s about 3 years since he called me,

and I followed willingly,

my eyes have seen remarkable tings,

my ears have heard blessings, and teachings, and stories,

I’ve heard him applauded,and lauded

and blamed, and vilified, then crucified…

now we are to wait,

his promised friend,

this inner power,

this higher power is coming,

I don’t know when,

or how,

or even why,

but I will wait,

my life has been turned over,

I expect it might be turned over again!

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I never like what I see

when I look in the mirror,

I am not fond of seeing photos either,

but once again I am challenged by innocence,

my 2 year old ( almost 2) grandson has no such hang-ups,

I am grandma, great for cuddles,

for reading books,

for building sandcastles on the beach,

he makes no comment on my face,

my weight,

my clothing,

or the way the salt air and the wind had sculpted

my hair into a mass of curls,

I am enough,

and this weekend he called me grandma for the first time,

he is delightful,

and teaches me that life is a delight more often than not,

you can get up from a bumped knee,

and be as wowed by a garden fountain

as you are by the sea and the beach!

He is a better mirror than any other mirror I own!

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Fixed? mental health awareness week… ( 15th-21st May)

Next week is mental health awareness week,

a week where we are encouraged to talk about it,

talk about our own struggles,

be open if we dare…

well I guess I have been open, particularly in recent years,

but there were days, not too long ago

when I didn’t even know how to name my struggles,

and saw my coping mechanisms as major flaws…

I needed fixing…


but for me, today, like every day is mental health awareness day,

how much energy will it take to get me out of the door, ( or out of bed),

and how much energy will a certain meeting take from me,

how do I explain that sometimes I simply need a day to recover,

and sometimes more than a day,

I love people, I am called to this work,

but it can drain me…

I do need to rest,

but I don’t need fixing…


Next week is mental health awareness week,

and mental health awareness has taught me that

I am who I am, and who I am is enough,

I have my struggles, I take medication daily,

I try to eat well, to exercise, to care for myself

body, soul and mind, some days I am very well,

and some days I struggle, and I cannot tell you which will be which

But, I don’t need fixing, there is nothing to fix…

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Ponderings- following a coronation and on Mother Julian’s Feast Day

Dear God,

Mother, father, lover of my soul, creator of all that is,

how do I name you today, this day when I am sorting through my over-full mind,

so many thoughts, a coronation weekend, jewels and crowns and words,

so many words, fascinating and repelling equally,

humility is shrouded in gold and pomp, so is it true humility?

Can you truly serve when privileged to such a great extent?

And yet, I would not want that role, that power, that weight of expectation,

my shoulders could not bear it, it is not my calling…

but I am called, and I am privileged, I am given a voice,

so how do I speak?

I can speak of service, and I hope I do serve,

I can speak of love and inclusion,

of justice and mercy…

do I act justly?

do I show mercy?

do I love and include?

I pray that I do….


Other things fill my mind,

reports of abuse perpetuated by those given power,

of young vulnerable minds manipulated by so called Christian leaders,

another can of worms opened within an institution where there is so much power

cloaked in gold and pomp…


then family things,

memories and musings on life and love and call


my own call,

who am I called to be?

what am I called to be?

Can I show love, mercy, grace?


I need a day, some time to recover,

to be with my thoughts,

and in them to find yours….

Maybe I need a secluded cell day,

Maybe I simply need to turn to a hazelnut and wonder,

and all shall be well,

and all shall be well,

and all manner of things shall be well….



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Prayers of thanksgiving and confession- for the beauty of the earth…

Loving, Creative God,

As you looked over all that you had made, you declared it good,

and it is good,

We see that goodness when we pause to enjoy your creation in all its vastness

be that on a mountain top, enjoying a breath-taking sunrise, or sunset,

or watching the waves roll in across the beach..

We see your goodness in the small things too, a flower opening, or,

the potential held in a tiny seed planted in hope.


In Jesus you taught us not to strive for more, but to consider the lilies of the field,


So, forgive us when we act irresponsibly towards all that you have made,

when we muddle greed and need

and live selfishly.



Forgive us when we turn a blind eye to the needs of the earth,

and to the lives of those vulnerable to the ravages of our changing climate



Then help us to live better lives,

caring for the earth,

caring for the rivers and seas,

caring for the air,

caring for the animals, birds, fish and insects who not only share this world,

but upon whom the earth depends.










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