Once again I am Woodbrooke Centre. This time, I am on my first week of a two-week long residential requirement during my Equipping for Ministry course.
After arriving yesterday after a long, but pretty much stress-free bus trip, we had dinner and then our first ‘getting to know each other again’ session. Most days at Woodbrooke begin very early and end late with, what sometimes seems to be, long sessions of sharing, reading, and listening. We interspersed these times with breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, and periods of silent worship, along with the usual chatting with friends between sessions.
I am finding that working on your spirituality is much harder than just working at everyday tasks and jobs at home or in the workplace. Perhaps because most modern tasks and job-related skills contain long periods of mindless, robotic motions and paper pushing. Working on one’s soul, however, requires that you stay present and focused most of the day even through to bedtime.
Today I devoted myself to beginning the discipline of eating breakfast at the silent table, attending meeting for worship for 30 minutes, and deliberately slowing myself down. I’ve noticed already that it helps so much with my attitude during the day. As for slowing down, I only realize I am rushing too much after having an accident on the stairs. I’ve noticed this during my working days back in the USA as well. I will be rushing, not paying attention, and turn my ankle or fall down some steps or up the steps. I am going too fast for conditions. Last night, I missed a step and caught myself going down the last three stairs in a fall. Fortunately, grabbing the stair rail did not prevent the fall completely, but made it much less worse than it could have been by slowing the inevitable. Only a bruised shin to show for it.
I also have the horrible habit of waking up and getting stuck in to work and activities without easing into it and then becoming irritated at normal requests or incidents. Mornings, for me, have always been a good time for a spiritual discipline, but I have failed to do it on more than one occasion and I’ve failed to give myself permission to persist. Being here at Woodbrooke gives some structure to begin again, but it will be my responsibility to maintain it after I get home. I am fortunate that my husband, who is also a Quaker, understands the importance of needing a time of silence and easing into daily activities. He is on a different daily clock than I am most of the time, so it’s challenging. But, I know we can make it work.
I am so blessed to be on the course and that I am able to have the support of my husband and my meeting. These things cannot be rushed and all things come to fruition in time and waiting and silence. I am happy and content at this time in my life and that’s saying something!