| Anglican Cathedral, Portsmouth|
There's nothing like a good gust of wind to blow away those post Christmas cobwebs, is there? That was my experience yesterday as I made my way back down to what I used to call "The Land of Seabirds and Brisk Sea Breezes," for the opening session of a course on a Week of Accompanied Prayer. Those of you familiar with the original Greenpatches (is there anybody?) may remember my reflections about my time as a "pilgrim," on one of these home-based retreats. No need to travel far and wide to make your retreat; your retreat comes to you. All that's needed is a commitment to spend half an hour in prayer and to a short meeting with your prayer guide each day. There is, of course, a little matter of incorporating all this into the hustle and bustle of your daily life: definitely a challenge, I discovered.
Nearly two and a half years down the line, it's time for some of us to reverse roles and learn a about the nuts and bolts of accompanying our own pilgrims. A daunting prospect, perhaps? I certainly felt slightly 'wobbly' beforehand: with memories still quite fresh of the first spirituality course there which had been such a formative experience for me. Would revisiting prove to be a mistake?
No worries. From start to finish, I loved it. From greeting old acquaintances to meeting new ones, to the practical side of things: it's quite intense, plenty of listening experience and little time in which to be nervous. (talk about brisk sea breezes!). I plunged straight in; even surprised myself by volunteering to be the first person in our small group to act as 'guide.' Not typical Greenpatch behaviour but then I am older, wiser (and from the look in the mirror this morning - wrinklier).
Looking next week's dose of fresh air.