I don’t know about you but my mind tends to wander quite a lot. However interesting what I’m doing, watching or listening to, I’ll be concentrating away and then…pop… I’ll be off, mentally butterflying on to something else. It may be a gender thing – Alison would say so, but she just doesn’t appreciate that it’s not a case of my not listening, it’s just that a husband’s head is already so full of very important stuff…
I wasn’t therefore surprised when, five minutes into Monday’s PCC meeting, my mind glided subconsciously from the beautifully crafted timed agenda (© Trish).
Two thoughts came into my head – not simultaneously but sequentially. First came the thought – I promised to write a blog about this meeting! Why did I promise to write a blog about this meeting!?! Could I not have agreed to blog about a something/anything else!?!?! What on earth can I write about?!?!?!
Then, gradually forming, came a rather more useful thought. That there was nothing in anyway unusual or out of the ordinary about the meeting – usual people, usual place, usual agenda items. BUT…but therein lay its importance.
Here were people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, experiences, characters, temperaments, views and political beliefs in the same place at the same time. Each of us holding different opinions on the way things should be done and the relative priority of the issues before us but coming together in fellowship. United in purpose, no one hogging the floor, open to the proposals of others, with everyone free to express their view without fear of dissent or dismissal.
From one perspective that is entirely usual – luckily for us that’s pretty much how we go about things in our church. However, despite these values being fundamental for communities and society to flourish – they can’t just be taken for granted. I wondered how many other places there are in our pressurised and sometimes fragmented lives, where such a disparate range of people join together? How often are all points of view encouraged, listened to and taken into account, rather than just ignored or shouted down?
When times are busy or hard simple things can get inadvertently forgotten. Simple values like, empathy, tolerance inclusivity, listening and flexibility and are not only vital, they are also fragile – they have the potential to wither if not actively remembered, practiced, appreciated and celebrated.
Sometimes it’s good for me (and maybe for us all?) to step back, let my mind wander past the agenda, past the usual faces, past the moment and remember to notice the wood for the trees.
Note: Irreverent cartoons by Cally – not Simon, so don’t blame him…