A message from the Rev’d Roger Whatley, Service Chaplain

Posted by Admin on Saturday, 20th June 2015, 23:15

Claire and I recently were lucky to take a holiday that lasted longer than a fortnight. Over the last few years our holidays have been reduced to snatches of time usually Monday  to Friday. When you take out travelling this becomes Tuesday to Thursday. As we sat in our tent admiring the mountains of Glencoe topped with fresh layers of snow through the midge netting we realised that the weekends that normally loomed large in our holiday planning were not important and we could relax. The pressure to see everything quickly was gone. It didn’t matter if we sat and watched, waited, listened and slept. Yes we had to come home eventually but not for a little while. It was ok just to stop. We had been to Scotland before and had a couple of places that we wanted to revisit and of course there was always Claire’s agenda that we might see a puffin!! We were determined to take the time just to be; and in making that effort we were rewarded with some beautiful times and places not that far off the beaten track, bearing in mind that we both struggle to walk huge distances!
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Standing in the harbour at Mallaig with grey seals sorting out the throwback from the fishermen, jellyfish floating in the clear waters and a fantastic café that served up the best langustines that we have ever had at a price that did not require a small loan we began to relax. We found silver beaches literally a quarter of a mile off the main road requiring no walking at all. There were waterfalls and rivers just so beautiful to sit beside for hours (midge spray applied of course) and the light was so clear. You could see for miles layers of sea and mountains spray painted with gorse and bluebells studded with white houses reminding us that even in this beauty there is occupation. We wondered about the logistics of actually living somewhere so remote. What happens if you don’t get on with your neighbours or what happens in the winter in the long Scottish nights?  How do they afford to live here? We did see Asda delivering to a car park on Skye outside the local co-op so civilisation was near. We were reminded of all the positives of our small crowded island that was to be even more crowded on our return because of the festival. Someone else’s idea of a holiday!
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Of course everybody’s idea of a good break is different and very few of us have the privilege of taking large periods of time to stop what with the pressures of work and family or perhaps caring for relatives. Even travelling seems to be fraught. Our eldest daughter was due to fly out to Spain as I write this letter. Whether she will get there I don’t know as the air traffic controllers apparently are on strike. It is hard to take on board other people’s needs when we so desperately want a few days for ourselves and these are spoiled by the delays and demands of others. Our world seems to shrink again in our desperation to have ‘me’ time and our view becomes grey and tired. Our lives seem to become a ‘hamster wheel’ of running endlessly to seemingly nowhere. But even a hamster has to get off the wheel occasionally to eat and sleep and these are good times to stop and take just a few moments. I can remember the horror I felt when the children were young and a vicar, long since retired, gave Claire some documents that I needed to look at. She told him that she would put them in the toilet! His puzzled frown was rewarded with the comment that it was the only place in the house that with three young children, two dogs and a telephone [please note no computer yet]   I might get some peace.
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I would encourage you as you read this to seek out a space for peace each day. Some people have routines and once the gap is put into a diary the space is made. Others find the challenge not so easy. It doesn’t matter where you find that few seconds. Sometimes it can be last thing at night or early in the morning. See if you can find a small holiday in everyday, a small shaft of peace piercing into your life. May be into that crack seeds will fall, flourish and bring colour into your life. I hope that you will all have the opportunity to take some sort of holiday and enjoy the British summer this year. Those of you that are familiar with the Gospels will know that even Jesus took time off on occasions and encouraged his followers to do the same.

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Roger Whatley, Service Chaplain.

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