Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Struggling for Stability

Sometimes you get weeks when things are busy and then there are weeks like the one I am having at present. It would be fair to say that I am working to absolute capacity this week, simply due to an un-plannable convergence of several factors - largely to do with the Occasional Offices and the needs of Lent and the imminent Passion.

As I sat in London traffic, a few days ago, bang below the landing flight-path to Heathrow, I watched a vast Boeing 747. It was a windy day - the sort you get when weather is fast approaching. It was blustery, so the pedestrians walking up and down West Hounslow's shopping streets were being buffeted all over the place.

And so was the plane. The first thing I noticed as the 600,000lb lump of aluminium descended was that despite appearing to be progressing gracefully in a very straight line (as they all seem to do when they descend), it was in fact flying at a rather odd angle into the wind. It was, to a lesser extent, flying sideways. The next thing I noticed is that as the people on the High Street were being jostled, so was this jet. As it approached my position, the effects of the wind upon it became more noticeable. It was being knocked all over the place. The wing on one side suddenly lifted and the plane made a perceptible slide to the other side. It corrected and the next salvo of invisible air came upon it. In every way, the plane was struggling just to maintain that air of graceful line-drawing to the ground.

As I sat in the car my first reaction was "I know how you feel, plane". The job of ministry is characterised by being very unpredictable. One week has the sense of being "quiet", with time to read and ponder. An hour later and the customary scan of the answer-machine, and a week of abject chaos ensues. In many ways, I have to be seen to be dignified and maintaining course. I don't think that the people of the parish need to be troubled with my wrestling with time and duty - that is not the relationship we have. When the fingertips have the feeling of losing grip in the crumbling edges, I have to look for all the world like I am stood on granite. 

To be sure I am not complaining - simply observing.  There are weeks like this, and all matters squeezed into each one is a privilege. It is just nice to know that at times I am not the only one ... as if I ever was!

As an aside, I have been amused to note that my ditty last week about One Direction has now been viewed in excess of 70,000 times. Such is the unpredictable Interweb!


  1. I can certainly relate. I have a sudden respite this afternoon, and it's a gorgeous spring day, and I sneaked (snuck?) out of the office for a walk. When I returned, practically everyone was gone. I thought the Rapture had come. But I think everyone just went out for a breather.

  2. All I can say is Prayers for you!

  3. Much like a swan then David, all serene on the surface etc. Though perhaps a tad less graceful.
    Just take a deep breath or two and before you know it Easter will be over.

  4. After years of parish ministry and a real roller-coaster landing at Heathrow last autumn in similar weather, I know exactly what you mean. David. :-)



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