Pentecost–the coming of the Spirit to a frightened and fearful huddle. It is one of my favourite Christian feasts, so hopeful… The Spirit comes not because we are worthy, often not even because we have asked him to, but because he is good, and kind, and desires to bless. He comes in his own way, on demand, to the humble repentant heart, Jesus says, and in the way He chooses, like water which softens hearts, like wind which cleanses them, like a dove which warms them, like fire which sets them ablaze.
I am in an in-between season. Zoe my eldest is wrapping up her Oxford University degree in theology (prayers welcomed for her Final exams); she then has a church internship at St. James Church, Hoxton, London, part of the Stepney internship scheme. Irene is taking her last school exams ever, and, contingent on results, hopes to enter a six year course in Medicine at Christ Church College, Oxford.
I am working on a long book, the idea of which came to me decades ago!! I cannot say God told me to write it, but I can say that God called me to write, and this is the book which I feel led or impelled to write, for reasons God alone knows, and which I am slowly understanding. I am working steadily, revising 3000 words a day, while knowing that many may not make it into the final draft.
I am taking an eight week Mindfulness course at Oxford University. I am half-way through it, but the shift has been seismic, in my mental state, in my serenity, in my sleep, in my productivity. As I guess a sculptor would feel foolish or superstitious about describing his sculpture midway, so I will not quantify or describe it just yet, but whoa, am I glad I am taking it!
It’s a beautiful spring, warm golden weather, and once or twice a week, I go on a long walk, increasing my mileage by 10% a week, as the gurus recommend. (Don’t be too impressed; I’m at 13 miles a week, in my 5th week of increases.) Chris McDougall who wrote the great running book Born to Run (and has converted me, amid much ouchiness to forefoot running) says something like, “If you have a problem that a four hour run can’t solve, then you ain’t going to solve it.”
Four hour runs I doubt I will ever do; I am a great believer in the minimum effective dose, just enough for health, but I have swapped out listening to audiobooks on my walks for prayer and problem-solving. That’s something else I’ve learned from my mindfulness course, listening to the wisdom of the body, and what its tense places are telling me; quietening down with deep, slow breathing, until the wisdom of the spirit emerges, the wisdom of the Spirit within me, the spirit who is breath, ruach, who Jesus transmitted to the disciples when he breathed on them.