Bitten and Broken…
…may be a rather over-dramatic title for this blog – please don’t worry about me!
It’s been a relatively novel and enjoyable experience, after a full week on the road, to have most of this week and next at home; partly in Glasgow and partly at our little cottage in Perthshire. Andrew is just about coping with having me around! There are two suitcases on the bedroom floor in the process of being packed, however, one for a district visit with Loraine to the Isle of Man next weekend and the other for my All We Can visit to Ethiopia almost immediately afterwards. For this I have had my typhoid jab this week, which gave me a sore arm, and (unrelated to any of the above) I woke up this morning with an infected and swollen eyelid (but, as I say, please don’t worry about me…!)
Whilst at home I have spent quite a bit of time gardening – again in both our gardens – which I always find restorative, therapeutic and enjoyable. Gardening at the cottage can be somewhat hampered by midges, but last Tuesday the weather was gloriously hot and sunny (which they don’t like) so we spent most of the day digging, mowing, weeding and planning. I was vaguely conscious of some larger black insects bothering me from time to time, but it wasn’t until Wednesday and Thursday that I felt the full impact of their attentions, with quite a number of large, swollen and very itchy bites appearing on limbs and torso… hence “Bitten”. A reminder, I guess, that even our much-beloved hideaway is not heaven!
While I was away, Andrew had been following up a recommendation to watch “Broken“, a BBC drama series about a Catholic priest in the north-west of England. By the time I came home he had watched the first 4 episodes on i-player and wanted me to catch up and then join him for the final two, so I have also watched an almost unprecedented six hours of TV this week. It has proved a moving experience, often depressing, at times harrowing and yet, somehow, ultimately hopeful.
(Sometimes gardening unearths the same emotions – after fallow years, two plants are offering me signs of hope at the moment – 8 buds on an Agapanthus which hasn’t flowered since we came to Glasgow (but none at all on the two which have!) and a plethora of tiny flowers on a Callicarpa which hasn’t flowered anywhere since I bought it 7 years ago! – The bees are loving it too).
More seriously, “Broken” has challenged me about the connectedness of church (of any denomination) with local culture, with hurting people, with the messiness of life; so much of what I have been spending my time on recently seems totally irrelevant in the face of lives which are thoroughly messed up and painful.
The occasional images in the drama of church windows has, however, also put me in mind of the hopeful truth that, just as stained glass windows can turn broken pieces of glass into great beauty, so the broken pieces of our lives can be transformed – not despite being broken but because of it. Jill