Come to home town for a few days as my elderly mum had a fall. She’s OK and been checked out at hospital but in pain. I will probably take her back to my adopted town to recuperate and she’ll have company then.
In other news the flat I am buying has land issues. It’s been going on for ages. If things can’t be resolved I’m going to have to walk away. I will lose solicitor’s fees and probably my buyer. It’s causing me a lot of lost sleep and much anxiety.
I’ve been doing well with my Lent Challenge to do one new thing a day but I won’t report back every day as that makes it a pressurised thing and i get sea-sick from being on screen too much.
As I was very tired from my night out I decided to go to our town’s poshest church rather than make the trip to my own church this evening.
Very beautiful surroundings and wonderful choir, good sermon, but strange to be there.
This posh church’s ethos is extremely liberal – which is my 1970’s upbringing background. It’s all gay vicars and seminars on transgender issues. But the hierarchical nature of the service, the Us and Them aspect (congregation v clergy), the formality, is now alien to me, yet this is what I grew up with.
At my usual church services anyone can pray out loud, singing is done by all of us and we sing a LOT! Sermons, a.k.a. the message, are chatty, funny, moving. But gay vicars are a big no-no. It’s a fundamental church, in effect, though with kindly pastoral care rather than punishing.
Sometimes trying new things can be a disappointment. But it does stretch you and also makes you appreciate what you have already.
Had an evening at a friend’s house with some of her friends. Well, actually, it is the house of her parents, a farm estate that’s been in her family for 200 years. She’s living back at home and what a very lovely home it is! The new things were that I met two of her friends who I’d never seen before.
I felt out of place, even quite shy, to start with as they are all about 10 years younger than me and have known each other years but I tried not to let that hinder me. Most of them are Christians, but not all, and they tend to belong to looser, more liberal churches than the one I go to (which is too fundamental for me but I love the place and the people and the pastors).
I really enjoyed the evening and ate my own body weight in Pringles, dips and spaghetti bolognese and loved the large, blazing woodburner.
Really tired today and staying in. New for today was that my friend came to see me with her fairly new and very peaceful greyhound dog. It was his first visit to my house.
We had a film night at church tonight. We watched the Christian film, The War Room, which I had never seen. (Hence, it was NEW to me).
I did enjoy it but found its lack of subtlety difficult, and as my friend, JH, said, the ends were all very neatly tied up, rather unrealistically.
I found this review from The New Yorker interesting: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-sanitized-christianity-of-war-room
Was very stressed today and thus sought solace (in the cleanest possible way) in the sauna and steam facilities on our city’s university campus. This is not a new activity exactly, though it is a while since I’ve been there. However, I did talk to a man there, briefly. He wasn’t scintillating but it counts as a NEW person and fulfills my ‘try a new thing each day’ challenge for Lent.
After the Celebrate Recovery session tonight I went to one of our fast food outlets and instead of scurrying back to the car I sat and ate at a table indoors and watched people passing through the town. It was around 10pm.
A lot of them looked like they were heavy drinkers and I did think that some of them might benefit from Celebrate Recovery! Mind you, you have to be willing to encounter Step One – Denial – to begin CR.
Town at night is not a pretty place and I thank God that despite my own sometimes torturous issues I don’t have addictions to alcohol, drugs or similar.
Today’s new thing was to visit a friend/client at the house he and his wife have just bought and are doing up to rent out.
The wife, who is also a friend, is a Christian (the hubby isn’t). Turns out that she bought the student house in 1988 that I lived in during 1986/87. This is a small city!
The house has a view of the cathedral plus two other important, historical churches.
Today’s new things in my Lent challenge were:
- Tried new perfume – Si by Giorgio Armani. Nice.
- Tried new Orla Kiely intense hand balm in Lavender and Sage. Gorgeous.
Went to meet an old schoolfriend, who I no longer know that well but she has been friendly and supportive over the last couple of years, in my home town. Went to cafe I rarely frequent, at a time I am rarely out, and had food I had never eaten there before. It was good.
Today’s NEW thing in my Lent Challenge: I went to an art gallery in a small town near to my birthplace. This is somewhere I’ve been meaning to visit for a while. Had a good chat with the proprietor, a NEW person. Bought an art card by an artist that was NEW to me.
I also went to another art gallery across the road which was also NEW to me.
Doing new things every day for Lent has made me realise why we do tend to do the same things over and over. It’s because on the whole the things we choose to do tend to be the ones we prefer. For example we may get coffee from a particular cafe because that’s ur favourite coffee or the staff members are especially pleasant there.
Some of the things I’ve done up to present have not been as good as my regular choices BUT I shall persist as they say a change is as good as a rest.
As I am away from home I had to go to a new pet shop as opposed to the little, independent shop I usually go to. Encountered some ghastly people outside the shop who were rude and quite scary to me. Reminded me why my friends and I chose to get out of this place as soon as we could – to universities and different lives. Mmm. Was a reality check.
Mum and I had a different type of curry this evening. A mild, creamy affair instead of our usual Rogan Josh-type curry. Hold the front page: we decided we preferred the latter. I know, the excitement continues!
As I have not been very well today my experimentation with new things has been modest. Let’s hope and pray for better things to come!
Today I drove to my home town. My new thing for today :was that I took the dog for a walk along the canal in a heritage site that I have not visited for at least 20 years
- Had a cup of tea with newish neighbours in their house. First time I had ever been in that house. Was lovely to see them and what they are doing to the old Victorian property, bringing it back to life.
PIC: Interior of a shepherd’s hut.
Life-enhancing activities for today (have to be new things):
- Listened to my hero David Bowie singing title track from Buddha of Suburbia. Not on of his best but okay.
- Listened to Pearl Jam singing ‘Jeremy’. Never heard it before!
- Listened to Pitbull. Switched it off halfway through!
- Planted new primula plant in large planter outside.
Listened to Beethoven, Symphony No 1. Still can’t get into Beethoven though!
Listened to some new music by a band called Phobophobes on Soundcloud. Not really my scene but it was at least NEW.
Read a new chapter in Joyce Meyer’s book, Look Great, Feel Great.
Tried new perfume – La Petite Robe Noir by Guerlain.
Reading a new book – The Soundtrack to My Life by Dermot O’Leary (very dull!).
Met a new person (business-wise).
PIC: By Graham Lowe.
A Christian who lives on my street, asked me what I was giving up for Lent.
As I have a restricted life – no chocolate, no alcohol, no drugs, no gooey cakes, no eggs (allergic!) and am celibate – I thought that during Lent that I would instead go towards life rather than away from it. Giving up more things is going to worsen my already on and off joylessness.
And after all, the end of Lent is Easter, a time of renewal and resurrection. New life.
Therefore I shall be trying one new thing a day. At least one thing. It may only be a small thing – talking to a new person, buying a new food, reading a new book – but as long as it’s new and life affirming that qualifies. I guess that the sacrifice of shunning a pleasure is a small way of showing gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice.
PIC: New view towards North Yorkshire.