Is it just me or does life seem to have gotten SO busy. There seems to be an endless flow of distractions and intrusions that hinder me. Recently I have been reading a book called The ruthless elimination of hurry. (Ok, I confess; listening to – I’m far too busy to sit down with a book!) The book itself is an easy read, but it asks some challenging questions about our modern lifestyle. Written by John Mark Comer, an American pastor, it is written very much from a Christian perspective but there is lots in it to speak to anyone living their life in our crazy, busy, noisy, nonstop, often overwhelming world. The chapter I read (listened to) this week is all about silence and solitude, something that few of us get enough of! After discussing it in our small group I was inspired to write this poem.
In the silence In the stillness Of the quiet place I will seek you Come towards you Turn to me your face
I am ready To hear from you Speak your truth to me I will listen To hear from you Words so Fatherly
In the silence In the stillness Of the quiet place I will meet you Be at peace there Rest in your embrace
I am a dreamer. I dream often and regularly remember bits, if not all, of the fantastical tales and crazy adventures I have during slumber. The weird and wonderful worlds I inhabit whilst sleeping can be a rich source of inspiration for my writing whilst awake, and I keep a note book beside my bed to jot down anything I want to hold on to. Sometimes when I look back at them my night-time scribblings make no sense at all, but once in a while when I check my notebook I am amazed at the insight or poeticism I find there.
A few days ago I had an unusual dream, even for me. Instead of being in the dream, playing ny part, I was an observer. And as the scene played out before me it wasn’t live action it was a black and white cartoon, all rough drawn and jiggling. I can only remember a very small part of it but it was such a striking visual images that it inspired a poem.
I can see myself in the corner In a small stark patch of light All couched and folded inwards In a world of black and white
The darkness that surrounds me Is slowly pressing in The fear of it constricts my chest I feel it chill my skin
But flickering, and glorious A white light comes to shine And rages ‘gainst the darkness In this corner small of mine
So sensing something easing I dare to lift my head And see the light expanding And catch a glimpse of red
I can see me in the corner In a growing patch of light All couched, but less uncertain In a world of colours bright.
There is no good time to be told you are being made redundant.
February 2020 was really not a good time to be told that the site where you have worked for 20 years is going to be closing early in 2021. Four weeks later we were in a pandemic and within 6 weeks, the majority of staff at the site were furloughed. There was the inevitable delay effected by lockdowns, but now 17 months later, I am counting down the last few days until I finally step off site for the last time.
I returned to work from furlough in July last year, to a different site. There is now a one way system in place, so I have gotten used to walking further to get from one place to another than the actual distance between them. There are card slots on toilet doors to ensure no more than 2 people are ever inside at the same time, and tables in the canteen are set out like an exam hall where each person sits alone facing the front. This is not unique; few workplaces, if any, have been unchanged by the need to keep people at a safe distance from each other, and there are many faces I have not seen unmasked in months, though I have spoken regularly to their owners. It is a strange way to end my time at this place, with it so changed from how it has been.
I was ready to leave when they announced the site closure; I had known it was time to move on for a while, but not knowing what my next step should be I had procrastinated. It was a kick up the backside being told I needed to find the next step directly and not when I got round to it, but I am now happy that I am heading off along a different path.
So it has come as a bit of a surprise to me how sad I am. For all sorts of reasons really. Twenty years is a large chunk of my life. Since starting here I have got engaged, got married, had children, moved house, all to the consistent backdrop of the same workplace. Although plenty of people have come and gone in that time, there are many faces who have been a regular part of my work life for that time. I am grieving for the loss of those people, for the loss of the comfortable familiarity of the place, for the loss of a job that I know I can do.
The place has been winding down for a while now. As the workload has decreased and fixtures and fittings have been dismantled around us the sense of ending has grown. What was once a busy bustling place is grinding slowly to a halt. So although I am excited and hopeful, about what the future holds, today the joy is tempered by melancholy. As I sit here alone in my office I am inspired to write a poem.
We were warned
We had plenty of notice
Time to prepare
But did we?
Or did we put it on the back burner,
To be dealt with at a later date.
Denial and disbelief obscuring the need to make ready.
Now though, the truth is rushing headlong towards us and
the narrowness of the passage of time leaves no chance for escape.
As reality closes in I embrace nostalgia
Wrapping myself up in the comfort of the contemptuously familiar.
Change will come
What has been will cease to be
And I must move on
I wish to face the future with hope
With the excited joy of infinite possibility
But for now I stand on shaky ground,
unsure of where next to tread
Buffeted by waves of grief that ebb and flow
threatening one minute to overwhelm
Then receding to allow me once more to stand and face what lies before.