Zeph Daily 41

Morning Zephyrs! Julie here. How’s your day going?

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I don’t know whether you’re the same, but when someone asks me how I am or how my day is going, I find myself doing a swift assessment before I answer – Who is this person? How well do I know them? Do they really want an honest reply or are they just making polite conversation? Then I adjust my response accordingly…

I spend some of my time supporting children who, for all kinds of reasons, may be struggling with tricky, complicated feelings – “heavy feelings” as I like to call them. You know, the horrible ones that weigh us down. It’s really important for our wellbeing that we notice those feelings, acknowledge them and the impact they have on us, so that we can process them and live life alongside them.

If you’ve ever lived alongside someone who’s going through a hard time and struggling with it, or indeed if you have ever been in that position yourself, you may have noticed that it can be tempting to ignore the heavy feelings, in the hope that they’ll go away and stop burdening us. You’ll probably also have noticed that feelings don’t like being ignored and, if we attempt it, they’ll just keep on trying to get our attention, expressing themselves in more and more unwelcome ways until they are impacting on everyone around us.

There can be a link between how well we recognise and handle our own feelings and how we relate to others – being kind to ourselves increases our ability to be kind to others, builds empathy, and makes us more emotionally resilient so we can support those who are struggling. And the world has never needed us to do that more than now…

Our God is a God of community, of connection – the Gospel is all about humanity being stronger together than we are apart. This morning, in the midst of all the turmoil about if and when the lockdown conditions will change, I thought it would be good to spend some time blessing and supporting ourselves and each other, so that we can better bless and support others around us, using words from the Corrymeela Community, who are offering daily prayers in a time of pandemic, recognising that the world needs community like never before.

Read the first line of the Corrymeela Prayer below, and spend a moment or two thinking about how you’re feeling following the government announcements at the weekend and the first steps towards a new normal – and all the ensuing debate. Worried? Confused? Anxious? Angry? Concerned? Happy? Glad? Uncertain? If you want to, add your prayer to God on the end of the sentence below…

“God who speaks from out of the whirlwind, and hears sighs too deep for words…”

Now, spend a moment or two remembering that our feelings come from who we are, from our experiences, from the boats in which we find ourselves sailing the storm – and the feelings of others may not be the same. Let us remember that our own uncertainty will make it harder to recognise the different perspectives of others, and pray…

“As we come to terms with what we do not know – a timeline for return, a safe social distance –as we struggle to make sense of the world around us and imagine what life will be like, ground us in our kindness.”

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Pray that we will remain grounded in kindness as we encounter others – in the real world or online – both those with whom we share common ground and those with whom we differ…

“May a gracious word begin our next encounter, a patient thought accompany our coming breath, so that with little left in our control, we may control ourselves with grace and faith and compassion. Amen.”

“Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.” (Deuteronomy 32:2) May our words be blessings…
Watch and listen:

May we be light in the dark corners today. Amen.

Have good days, Zephyrs – be gentle with yourselves if you need to be, find moments of rest and restoration, joy and peace, and may you laugh, so that you can pass these things on to others…

If you want to follow the Corrymeela Community’s daily prayers in a time of pandemic, you can find them here…

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