Winter Days: postscript

There is one thing missing, and that is my word for the year.

Nobody asked – it didn’t come up in Reverb – and so I was going to do without a particular word-for-the-year this year. However, there is one particular word that has been jumping up and down screaming at me to notice it. I have come across it in all sorts of contexts, and every time I do it leaps off the page, or the screen, or whatever it is.

It’s kind.

This is terrifying me in much the same way as generosity did earlier in this series, on account of being knackered. Compassion fatigue. And yet I know it’s not actually about that at all. Kindness costs nothing, indeed, particularly if I make it important to be kind to myself as well. And I remember 2013, when my word was love, how it all came in, how I found that I had already been swimming in the stuff. If kindness works the same way… yes.

I note that they seem to appear as adjectives rather than the associated nouns. Last year it was free, not freedom; this year it’s kind, more than kindness.

This year, then, is to be kind in, to be kind to others and to be kind to myself, to let kindness happen to me. Bring it on.

Winter Days: Silversmithing Class

In August, I signed up on a whim for a class at a local arts centre – 10 Wednesday evenings learning how to work with silver.

Annoyingly, I lost about five of those Wednesdays to work, illness or sheer bloody exhaustion. The autumn drew in and it got dark and I found it harder and harder to leave the house once I’d got home.

The other five were great fun. I got to: use a saw, use a blowtorch, hit bits of silver with a hammer, solder bits of silver to other bits of solder, use a polishing machine, use a pendant drill. The tutor was great: he showed us how to use things and then let us get on with them, and encouraged us strongly to come up with our own designs. This is pretty much exactly how I learn and work, so I thought it was great.

I made a ring, a bangle and a sort of torc (the last I need to polish up). I was reasonably pleased with all of them – largely on the level of ‘I made a thing!’; they were not perfect by any means, but still, making a thing is pleasing enough in itself. I would need quite a lot of practice to get good, that’s the trouble, and one evening a week – often an evening that doesn’t actually happen – isn’t enough. And of course one’s restricted in terms of tools: I have neither the money nor the space for my own workshop, and can do very little without one.

I enjoyed such of the course as I was able to get to, but I think that at the moment I need to stick to things I can do on the dining table. In the end, perhaps the most useful lesson I learned was how much I can reasonably expect of myself on a work evening.

Winter Days number goodness knows what: things ending, things beginning

When a door closes, a window opens. Or, when the door closes, we can finally see the light from the window that was open all the time. May it be so. Even so, I think all my doors are still on the latch at the moment.

Things ending: this month in which I begin the new year at my own speed, getting a head start. Things beginning: this new year.

Things ending, run to the end of the reel and wound up, flapping a little as the momentum runs itself out.

Things ending: my twenties. A decade of transition, of exploration, of losing my confidence and finding it again. A decade of trying things on for size, of ridiculous impulses and paralysing fears.

Things beginning, ever so slowly. My life as a writer who gets paid for writing. ($3: a token amount, token perhaps in more senses than one. A notification arriving 31st December: how’s that for a cosmic message? Except of course 31st December doesn’t mean much to me in terms of endings…)

Things beginning, and having to choose between all the bright wonderful things that might begin, in favour of the one or two that will.

December Days 25 (26): everything, and then some

Contextual theology: faith in what?

‘Contextual theology’ is spot on. If I’d got my act together and written this yesterday, I would have waffled at length about the Incarnation, and what it means about the importance of the present.

Context is inescapable. We cannot stop learning about our universe; things change; what we once thought was true turns out to be only a tiny part of what we now know to be true.

Faith in what? Faith in God who is infinite. Everything that I can imagine that God could be, plus everything I can’t imagine. God in whom we live and move and have our being; God who contains everything that we know – and that everything is always expanding, and that what we believed yesterday is not enough, and what we can imagine today is nowhere near the truth.

It isn’t so much that what we knew yesterday is wrong; it’s that we understand more about it. The new truth doesn’t contradict the old truth; it builds on it, reaches beyond it, adds dimensions upon dimensions to it. The more we know, the more we understand, the more we are able to appreciate the wonder of reality and of how much we can never know.

What we knew yesterday was good, but we have more of it today. One has to take all the evidence into account. Integrity demands it.

December Days 24: Remembered

An anonymous friend asks:

What would you like to be remembered for? If someone were writing an obituary, what you want them to include? Which achievements are you proud of?

I would like to be remembered as –

– the author of Speak Its Name, which I would like to have made a difference to somebody
– more generally, as somebody who could write, and did
– a person who was not afraid to admit how difficult it can be, whatever ‘it’ might be
– a committed trade unionist
– a singer who was prepared to sing
– someone who tried very hard to see things as they really are
– more than anything, a person of integrity

December Days (late to the party)

Knowing that my mind would be occupied with Reverb, I’d thought that I wouldn’t have the space to do December days, and was feeling a little bit wistful. I’d forgotten, though, that Reverb (Kat’s version, at least) stops on 21 December, so I can do a mini version. I’ll take it through to Epiphany.

Usual rules: pick a day and tell me what you’d like me to write about.

22 December – the dammit list
23 December – #ChristmasMeans
24 December – How I would like to be remembered
25 December – Contextual theology: faith in what?
26 December
27 December
28 December
29 December
30 December
31 December – Things ending, things beginning
1 January
2 January
3 January
4 January
5 January – Silversmithing class
6 January – word for the year