It’s a tad late – but Happy New Year!
New Year, New You!
I don’t do new year’s resolutions because I never keep them. It’s just a way of setting myself up for a basinful of guilt and self-loathing. Better to skip the middle man and go straight for the guilt and self-loathing which I’m a past mistress at.
But my hope (that sounds much more achievable) for this year is to write more. Last year I was laid low for so long with our mutual enemy, Covid, that I did precious little writing. And I enjoy writing. It helps me process stuff. It helps me sort out who I am. So, if you are reading this, you are reading my blog. Thank you. Every writer writes to be read and it gives them a warm cosy glow if someone bothers to do it.
Now, as a novice in the Third Order of the Society of Franciscans, I’m working through my novitiate by totally transforming my life and reading a book of the Bible every day, as well as spending at least four hours in sackcloth and ashes interceding for the needs of the world. As well as gluing myself to pavements to help the ozone layer and lying down in the middle of the M11 to persuade the government to do more about insulating homes.
Big shoutout to those saints who actually do those things.
Because I don’t. I’m working my way through Novitiate Note 3 which is about spreading the spirit of love and harmony and realising what a fraudster I actually am. Realising that this is far more than just being nice to everyone and letting someone with only one item of shopping in front of me in the supermarket queue. I’m thinking that at a profound level – sub-conscious if you like - that I need to really and truly believe that all people are equal and made in the image of God. I do believe that, until some bloke in the street starts effing and blinding at his missus or lobs a bottle through a shop window. Or I listen to the news and hear how many civilians Putin has killed that day.
It's easy to assent intellectually but much harder to really feel it. Don’t you think? And rather than chucking brickbats at everyone else, I know it starts with me.
It starts with how I respond – or react- when I am treated badly or see others treated badly. It’s a very fine line between keeping the peace and standing up to aggressors so they don’t continue to bully and intimidate.
So, I start small. Change what I can change. I can’t rewrite that bloke’s abused history or stop psycho-Putin. But I can pray and I can volunteer for something which is helping others keep warm and pay bills. And you sure don't have to belong to a religious order - or a church to do that. There are thousands of good people, everywhere, making a difference.
Now I know that sometimes I react in ways internally which don’t spread a spirit of love and harmony. I can be a little bubbling torrent of vitriol inside while my external persona presents an image of sugar and spice. Fancy! And that’s what I need to work on.
I’m not racing through my novitiate because I need time. I need time to make sure my insides catch up with my outsides.
And I’m writing it all down.
The writing is the easy bit.
Thank you for reading this post. If you would like to walk with me on my journey, please subscribe to my site and receive updates. Just follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page https://www.backstreetpilgrim.com/