Remembering why they are there

>>  Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This week's gallery is 'Talent'

My talent does not lie in cake making! Let's clear that one up.  But I will bake a batch of cakes to let the Rangers know I value them and their achievements.

Many years ago I help out at a Brownie pack where the leader shouted - a lot.  I think we all got into the habit of it a bit but there came a moment for me when I stopped and looked at us all and thought 'they come here to have fun not to be shouted out'.

It was a turning point for me.

When I came to my current Ranger unit to help out there was a general air in the leadership that made me feel uncomfortable and it took me straight back to that moment at Brownies all those years ago.  Rangers don't turn up to be lectured or spoken down to and they recognise sarcasm and derision very well.

It can be hard to be constantly positive and nobody could stand a permanent Pollyanna but a general air of it spreads out to create a friendly, supportive environment.

I had a card from a Ranger that left to go to university.  She said I had created a turning point for her in Guiding, she started to enjoy it again with me there, she wanted to stay a part of it and is now starting her Queen's Guide.  Another Ranger said to me the other night "I really enjoy coming to Rangers".

I'm pretty rubbish at cooking (but I can turn out a meal for 20+ on a pack holiday!).
My fitness for running is mediocre (but I can stay the course in a 12 hour day of 1500 girls.)
I'm pretty average in anything I do (but our best effort is accepted as good enough in Guiding.)
I don't play an instrument, I can't sing for toffee, I can't act, and I'm not the top in my field at work (I'm definitely not top in my field when it comes to Guiding in a field!)

But I can help a great group of girls have a great time.

I think I scare the willies out of Rainbows, bless their little cotton socks, I'm totally not talented enough to be a Rainbow leader! But I can make Brownies giggle, Guides roll their eyes (do they do anything else!!), and I can turn a Senior Section atmosphere around  that changed a girl that went home in tears after each meeting (I often wonder why she came back)  into a Ranger that loved being there.

In my generally under achieving world that is a huge talent in my eyes.


Alone in Walsingham

>>  Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our annual pilgrimage weekend had been on the calendar for at least 9 months. 2 weeks before HWMBO tells me he is going to Brazil that week and won't be back in time. FINE.

We cancelled the restaurant we had booked but when I arrived alone in the village there was really no where else to go. So I went and ate alone (literally!) 

It was a fantastic meal, I think I was just very early.

 Later in the evening I went down to the Shrine cafe for a cup of hot chocolate - alone again!

 At the start of one of the services I lit a candle with a special prayer for our marriage.

During the service it burnt down and it felt very sad.  I had to light another from the first to feel happy again.
 The whole weekend left me with a lot of time for solitary thoughts.
 And solitary walks.

You are never really alone at Walsingham though.  Mary is always there with you and you can bring her home again too, even in a shopping bag!

Actually at different points of the weekend I met some really nice people and it was lovely to have a chat with them, something I probably wouldn't have done if we'd have been a couple there.  

This weekend is normally a time we would spend together with little diversion and it helps refill our marriage bank. But alone I found time to refill my own sanity bank.

A weekend away with no trappings, no material musts and shoulds.  The accommodation is clean and adequate.  The internet connection is reassuringly bad and the phone signal sporadic at best.  There are few shops, no television.  Plenty of space for reaffirming faith, time to self assess and question.  Time to find a little peace within. Time to accept the doubts. Time to talk to the priests and express my unhappiness at some of the church teachings and time to understand that it is ok for me not to agree with them on some things.

If you have never visited the England's Nazareth in Norfolk, I totally recommend you do. Even if it's just for a few hours as a part of a holiday in that area.  It is fine to just go and have a walk around, you don't have to wear a label describing your personal belief system - it is ok to go on pilgrimage and it is ok to go as a tourist.  It's an untouched part of England and a living history.  Go have a look at the Anglican Shrine in the village and the Catholic Shrine a mile outside.  Both are worth a look at.

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