Let the heart create for us…

Michaela bought me a present- a book I had loved in a former life and then lost/loaned.

It is this tiny book by Michael Leunig, written back in 1991;

the prayer tree, leunig

It contains one of the few poems that I can recite by heart- “When the heart is cut or cracked or broken, don’t clutch it, let the wound lie open….” I have quoted this previously here.

Today, with thanks to Mr Leunig, (and my lovely wife) I offer you this;

God help us to live slowly

To move simply

To look softly

To allow emptiness

To let the heart create for us

Amen

And for those whose heart is not quite ready to create, perhaps this will help you realise that you are not alone;

svLEUNIG_MAY23-600x400

Happy birthday Michaela!

Michaela, journey

Today my lovely Michaela is 46.

We are away on the island of Coll with some friends… a few photos are required I think…

Alt worship, old school…

ohps

 

Aoradh met yesterday for our ‘family day’. We have one of these a month at the house of one or other of our members. Everyone brings something to eat and something to contribute to an act of worship- it was lovely.

Yesterday we sang, listened to music, watched a DVD and spoke about starting again, changing things up. Among all the lovely things we did, what stays most in my mind was something that Michaela encouraged us to do using old school technology in the form of acetates.

‘Alternative worship’ (if you have not come across the phrase before) could be understood as a creative democratisation of worship within the Christian tradition. It involves taking old and new rituals and reinventing them, finding renewal and making new community along the way. It might also sometimes veer towards the highly technical- the joke is often made that if the alt. worship scene has a patron saint, then this is likely to be St Jobs of Apple. Contrast this with when the movement started out, when we all dug out our parents slide projectors and borrowed the OHPs from our local schools. Having said all that, our family days have very little in the way of high end technology.

Michaela’s idea was to take a song – an old Vineyard song called Hungry; She took some of the words- the negative ones like hungry, weary, empty, dry, broken and wrote them on a sheet. She then placed an acetate over the original sheet with other words on – satisfy, restore, arms open wide. The words merged, but remained separate.

She then asked us to think of all the things that were weighing us down; all those hard situations, areas of pain and brokenness, and to write them down on a sheet of paper. We then were invited to take a sheet of acetate and write words of hope, with prayers and promises. Then place the acetate over the sheet of paper.

Simple, low tec, but done prayerfully, in the company of friends it was beautiful.

I have my sheers here now. Depression becomes paired with gentleness, with patience, with grace. Awkwardness becomes paired with creativity and love…

Who needs beats and 5 different projections?

 

Potting on boxing day…

glaze

We have had a lovely Christmas day. Just the 4 of us and a slow day listening to music, laughing a lot, eating too much and watching cheesy films. I had some lovely gifts (thanks everyone!) and enjoyed helping Will put together his new bike. Emily has been in great form too, making us all laugh like drains- mostly with her, occasionally at her.

There is only one potter in our family- and this is Michaela. However, she lets me play around with clay from time to time. Usually she gets a bit fidgety whilst looking over my shoulder but that is fine with me.

I enjoy mixing up ceramics with metal and wood to make things that speak of the sea. The glazes we use are mostly sea colours- you never quite know what magic will happen in the kiln though. I have also been using some shapes to impress into the wet clay to make celtic crosses and the like. What better way to spend Boxing day?

Here are a few of the things I have been making;

TFT goes all seasonal…

Last night we had our first proper Christmas celebration- a lovely evening with friends from our old ‘house group’- reading, praying, sharing gifts (a secret santa kind of thing) and even singing the odd carol. Michaela had planned a ritual involving listening to U2′s song ‘Peace on Earth’ (uncharacteristically dark and mournful for her!) and also re-lending some money our group had invested with Kiva.

Earlier we put up Christmas decorations. To prove it, here are some (slightly cheesy) photos!

Patience rewarded… but…

Following on from yesterdays post, here is Michaela’s pebble bowl.

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I love it.

But she hates it.

This is the other lesson from potting- what you see in your mind when you are creating something is not necessarily what you end up with. Your input – the skillful hands and the carefully nurtured imagination – has to be tested in the heat of the kiln. And this always has to involve the possibility of disappointment; failure even.

Although I wish my failures were as lovely…

The lady of the lakes…

Michaela, Derwent water

 

She will not thanks me for this- but here are a few photo’s of my wife. The one above was taken somewhere near where the photo in my previous post was taken.

We had a lovely couple of days- walking around Keswick which was at the beginning of the ‘Words by the Water’ festival, so full of poetry and posh people who read it enough to go to a festival about it.

We went to see Arthur Smith do a couple of hours of comedy, inter spaced with anecdotes and poems.

Then we walked round shops selling stuff that we did not need so did not buy, and sat sipping tea and talking of slow things.

On the next day we climbed Cat Bells with the crowds doing the same and stared at the view out over the lake towards Skiddaw and Blencathra.

All made the more lovely I was with Michaela…

Michaela, winter sun

Michaela, Cat Bells

picnic spot