NOTE FROM KERRY: Pauline Loughhead is a member of the pastoral care team at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Chatswood, NSW and is in the midst of intense training for hospital chaplaincy. She has been at almost every quiet day since they first began and has been a real blessing to us all. I’m sure you will enjoy her impressions of Breathing Space.
I am trying to get used to using the new ‘handle’ for the quiet days away at Winbourne. These are something that I have written in my diary for the whole year [in indelible ink!]. Other than the birth of a grandchild or death itself, my intention is to be there, and yes, I can in fact relate to the new title, for they are indeed a ‘breathing space’ in my busy schedule.
March’s Breathing Space took a slightly different form, and one that I found helpful. We are evolving as we are ‘getting used to one another’ I do not really know any of the participants in this community (other than a friend who travels with me), yet we are there with the same intent and this itself brings with it a sense of community; common-unity; one-mindedness; a oneness in spirit. The focus for this, and very special to me, is the mid-day Eucharist. As we humble ourselves before God together and regard the symbols of bread and wine; body and blood; broken and shed on our account … in fact to clear our account, pay our debt … I find this service a great leveller. We are all equal in blessing before God as we share in this together.
This month, after our morning prayer and period of personal quiet reflection and listening to God, we shared in the Eucharist together and then had a more monastic style lunch than we have had in the past. Rather than all the chattering and sharing our lives with one another, we sat in silence to eat our simple shared lunch whilst Kerry read to us from a book called ‘The Ladder of Monks’. This was a new experience and one that took a little getting used to. I am a chatterbox and love words in all their forms, but I found this easy to accommodate and far less disturbing to my whole day than the social lunch we have had before.