Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 52.

I mentioned in a recent post that many who experience Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are almost entirely debilitated by it: the effort to get out of bed is enough to send them straight back to bed for the rest of the day, or perhaps they've enough energy to get up and do the basics of personal hygiene and feeding, but not much more than that.

Confession time: I sometimes find myself wishing that my experience of the illness was that bad again, if it can't get better and get gone. This is because it is an extra source of exhaustion, the managing of the condition so as to be able to function at the level at which I can function.
I have mostly been in the 'high-functioning' category of those who live with Depression, for the past 20-odd years, too. Living everyday life still, achieving stuff like writing poetry and producing books, performing poetry and stories, turning up to work (except for a few months at my first job, when my bosses had to sit me down in their office to tal…

Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 51

'I am at the curled-up-in-the-foetal-position-unstoppable-crying stage of lockdown.' This was my social media status update several Thursdays ago.

Your response  Friends, acquaintances, members of my dispersed and local communities – you did not judge. You did not flick platitudes my way. You did not tell me to snap out of it.
My people, you simply responded with love, with presence, with solidarity. Thirty-odd comments saying 'love', 'hugs', 'thank you for sharing', 'thank you for your honesty', 'I feel it too'. You reached out across the distance to 'touch' me when I was feeling alone.
One brought flowers. Others sent messages. Mum said 'I'm here, call me if you need to.' (and I did – need to, and call her)
When I told you how I was feeling – that it was a rough day and I was sad, lonely, afraid – you sat down with me in the muck.
That is what I needed.

Thank you. 

My response  I am an insatiable learner, so of cours…

Presence. Worship at Home Easter 6

Worship at home – 17 May 2020 – Easter 6 - Wesley Uniting Church, Canberra
curated by Rev Dr Sarah Agnew
with Jules Wright and Brendon Lukin

Gathering We are still in the season of Easter, so continue to feature colours of white and gold in your table settings.
Light a candle to represent the light of Christ in our midst.

Opening prayer: 'to the God we do not know' (Acts 17:23)

God, we do not know
how you made the earth,
sun, stars, planets, galaxies;
whales, rhinos, ants, butterflies;
us – by speaking love –
yet we trust that you did,
and we are grateful.

God, we do not know
how you maintain patience,
good will, grace, and humour
with our wandering away,
our efforts to replace you –
yet we trust that you do,
and we are grateful.

God, we do not know
how you are with us,
human, Divine, Spirit, flesh;
how we are the body
together that Jesus once was –
yet we trust that you are, we are,
and we are grateful.

God, our God, we do not know
you, but we know ourselves
known by you, …

Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 50

It's a day of weariness and pain today. They're becoming more frequent. I may need to brave the outdoors to return to the chiropractor for the network spinal treatment that has been so helpful in managing this illness. In the mean time, today I came to a standstill, then found a way to move forward, gently. 

It's been a practice I developed with the help and encouragement of the first network spinal practitioner I saw, in Adelaide: not to stop entirely, but to keep moving forward, so that even resting and pausing is a moving forwards, a nurturing of growth and life. 
Today I slept in a bit, stayed in bed for a while longer, out of bed being cold, and muscles feeling inflamed and achy. I got up eventually to have my fruit smoothie breakfast part one, and sat in my chair listening to the daily short cut to the news podcast, The Squiz. 
After a while, I realised I had not moved from my armchair. I was browsing social media sites, replying to emails, but not really engaging in…

We sense, we love, we learn, and thus find the Sacred

Our minister in association, Bruce, invited us (Wesley Uniting, Canberra), to consider the various ways in which we nurture our connection to the Sacred, in his reflection this past week. I spent quite some time on Sunday morning examining how the actions of my senses, the language of my love, and the means by which I learn, are helping me not only to stay connected with the Sacred, but to deepen that connection, through this pandemic season.

Senses  Sight Friends have been sharing their photographs on social media. Chris's close-ups of tree trunks inspire awe and gratitude for creation. Jules shares black and white snapshots of her days, Hannah the flowers and sights from her walks through Edinburgh, and my sister her adventures with my niece and nephew, and I am with them, though we are apart. 
Sometimes I colour mandalas, not thinking too much about the colours, but choosing them on instinct. On reflection, I consider what the colours show me about how I am feeling and praying. …

I am not a mother

A new poem in response to the day – Mothers' Day – speaking for myself, and happily. 

I have brought much
to life - poems, stories,
books and dreams,
but I am not a mother.

I nurture, guide, encourage
humans to their flourishing
with love and presence, for
I am big sister,
I am aunt,
I am mentor,
I am pastor, prophet, priest:
but I am not a mother.

Oh, I bleed, with painful
tedious regularity,
the body holding possibility;
I will not partner,
neither to coax possibility
to conception, nor to
step into, adopt,
the mother-load,
for I am not a mother

by choice,
for life – the life that sees
me thrive and nurture
life in many ways,
as woman, as human,
as member of community,
not 'mothering', that day
is not for me.

together: enough

we held a zoom morning tea for our congregation this morning. it was wonderful. it was enough, and it was no where near enough, of a connection as we long to gather again. 

twenty five screens connected
forty five faces smiling to see
each other, forty five
voices 'hello'ing, laughing, sighing;
cups and mugs, biscuits and cakes:
it's the same, but so unusual.

twenty five rooms beamed
into twenty five homes,
not the forty or fifty lingering
in the foyer of our shared home:
we're still together, but we're still alone.

forty five stories of gifts
we receive in this season:
connection and presence through
the separation; learning.
slowing, healing, creating –
much we do not want to lose
when we regain what we have lost.

twenty five screens, twenty
five homes, forty five threads
holding us together – forty five
of the hundreds of our kin
seeing, seen; hearing, heard;
weaving these threads from this
connection to hold us

forty five heads bowed,
one voice for all, one pra…