Hey y'all! It's been TIME! A new job will do that. How things?
Me? I'm good. The last few weeks have been crazy busy and despite being the woman who knows that rest is a choice I have found myself in the familiar pattern of running around super busy for three weeks so planning nothing for a week, getting bored and then planning another crazy three weeks, to get tired and so plan a week off, to then get bored and so plan another crazy three week, to get tired and so... you see where this is going? I thought Suburb Life would slow this down but all its done is add longer travelling times.
Speaking of which, in between fighting my fellow commuters for a seat on the train, perfecting in-carriage train surfing and managing to actually find a space to open my book when it's been super super busy, I’ve been reading Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens on my way to/from work. It is excellent, despite Dickens’ habit of explaining what happens next by telling you in the chapter title. Par exemple:
At least give a spoiler alert or something. However, all has been redeemed by 'Chapter XXXV Containing the unsatisfactory result of Oliver’s adventure; and a conversation of some importance between Harry Maylie and Rose’ where I read this:
There were tears in the eyes of the gentle girl as these words were spoken; and when one fell upon the flower over which she bent, and glistened brightly in it's cup, making it more beautiful, it seemed as though the outpouring of her fresh young heart claimed kindred with the loveliest things in nature.
"The outpouring of her fresh young heart claimed kindred with the loveliest things in nature." It’s so beautiful I could cry – or lie in traffic (my go-to responses to anything of utmost beauty).
I have also discovered that Dickens wasn’t averse to a bit of a preach:
I have said that they were truly happy; and without strong affection, and humanity of heart, and gratitude to that being whose code is Mercy, and whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe, true happiness can never be attained.
I don’t know if he was a man of God or was pressured into it by his wife or publishers or whoever, but once you figure out what it means (I have already said that they were happy. Without love, compassion and gratitude to the One whose DNA is mercy and goodness, you can never truly be happy) it’s an unexpected surprise on page 360 of my edition – which happened to be another OxfamBooks win.
I have also finally finished reading The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann. I have tried to read this book about five times over the past three years and each time had given up because I just didn't get it. But for some reason, this time round, it all made sense. So I'm reading it again so that I can scribble notes all over it – because the best books are well loved and marked. Here’s a few gems to delight your eyes and scramble your thoughts:
“What we understand about the Old Testament must somehow be connected with the realities of the church today.”
“The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.”
“The dominant culture, now and every time, is grossly uncritical, cannot tolerate serious and fundamental criticism, and will go to great lengths to stop it.”
“Prophecy is born precisely in that moment when the emergence of social political reality is so radical and inexplicable that it has nothing less than a theological cause.”
As you can probs tell, there's been a lot of reading. I commute.
There’s also been a lot of listening to this:
Last Monday I played this non-stop for an hour (fortunately for my colleagues I had the office to myself). Another cry or lie in the traffic tune.
In other news I took a never-ending five-ish hour journey on the MegaBus to Leeds. Conclusion: people in Leeds have northern accents. 25 for 25 Task Nine is complete.
Speaking of which, in honour of Task 8 I have been trying to eat seasonal vegetables – it’s just ridiculous to fly spinach in from Argentina, and I resent the fact that my food has been to more exotic places than me. Also, eating seasonally is better for the environment (less airmiles and all that jazz) and better for you (seasonal produce contains all sorts of nutrients we need at that time of year). It's pretty easy to do - most supermarkets plaster the Union Jack all over the packaging, or you could get one of these (one of my most fave Christmas presents)...
To round-off this round-up I leave you with a question I have been pondering of late:
What does a life lived right vs. a life of compromise mean?