What an amazingly immense day spent outside engaging with people as they shopped as part of 'Dying Matters' awareness week. I have had so many conversations with people and taken the opportunity to just 'be' with the people of Tamworth and it was marvellous.
From 10:00 to 16:00 I walked, talked, listened and prayed. I handed out leaflets for a bereavement support group based in St. Martin's (Stonydelph) and conversed with people from St Gile's Hospice Funeral Directors, and many other people besides.
Back on the Streets on Friday - hoping it stays dry and that I experience more of the same.
There is a real temptation for me to just give up on all the admin and stuff and just soak myself in being out there on the streets - so many needs - and so much joy to be celebrated and made real.
As a society it seems that we don't do death as well as we did. We don't think about it in a healthy way, in fact we rarely think about it unless our mortality (or that of someone we live or know) is threatened. One of the most important roles a cleric has is that of helping people to die well - not a morbid thing, but something of joy and completeness I reckon.
We don't always grieve well either and the spectrum ranges from 'always look on the bright side of life' through to turning the home into a shrine and engaging in a toxic grief that ends normal life for others too. Death is a painful thing, but it is supposed to be and because grief is so often malformed rather than bring healing and a way forward it causes people to revisit the pain with no obvious exit for the roundabout!
So on with the week and the encounters and conversations and the pain of loss and the optimism that a new day brings.
Have I mentioned how much I love this ministry stuff.
Lord, for everything that's been today and all that's before me tomorrow: I thank You.