A lot of blog posts (and indeed mine) are often about how busy life is and how we can cope with this busyness. Do you feel that If you don’t live life in the fast lane then society considers you as less productive, less successful? It’s fashionable to roll our eyes and dash off after dropping the school kids and exclaim – got to run, so much to do!
One of the reasons we moved to the middle of a field in Lincolnshire was to get away from the hustle and bustle of the South, only to find ourselves stepping onto another hamster wheel of engagements, responsibilities, deadlines etc. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being busy. In fact, I believe work is a blessing from God and I’ve come to the conclusion that I rather like being busy but I do need to take a minute now and again to breathe.
Last week I took my year six class into the school grounds and asked them to do something very difficult. I asked them to reflect on their surroundings, really notice nature around them and record their feelings – all without speaking. It was part of a series of RE lessons I’m teaching which questions whether science and Christianity can exist in harmony and this session, was to understand the beauty and complexity of nature and how this fits into creation and/or science. Well, it was like I’d asked them to write a paper on quantum physics! “What do I look at, miss? – It’s just grass and trees – I feel cold – I come out here every playtime, miss – I know there’s leaves on the ground.”
It took some effort but eventually, my class got into the task and having chosen an object of nature that grabbed their attention, we sat in the outdoor classroom and drew the details of the found leaf, apple or twig in complete silence. We took the time to really look at God’s creation and marvel at its wonder. The birds singing, the breeze stirring the leaves, sending them floating to the ground in oranges, russets and reds. I rather enjoyed that lesson – taking a minute to really notice the world around me.
That same evening, I took Hopey dog for her usual walk across the fields and instead of thinking about all the things I had to get done that evening which I normally do (I won’t bore you with the details) I lived in the moment and really noticed my surroundings. A deer sprinted across the field, a blackbird scolded me from the thick, twisted hedgerow lining the path, the scarlet berries resplendent against the deep, winter green of the Hawthorn, a late bee tired and spent from the summer’s work buzzing low over the ground looking for its cosy home in the rich earth. Wow, I think to myself. I should breathe more often!