There are days when you feel needed, wanted, significant, have a place, belong. The problem is if every day has to feel that way, as if there could be no authentic sense of meaning and purpose without that inner feeling that I matter, and am needed. From there it is a short distance to weighing my significance by living a vicarious life, value, worth and esteem borrowed from other people's affection, dependence or say so.
These reflections come a few days after a day that was full, and perhaps too full to do justice to everything that is being fitted into the hours and minutes with more precision than is good for me or the others I encountered that day. Arrangements for a funeral serrvice of loved friend fitted around the many other things his family have to attend to. A visit to the school where as chaplain I have privileged access to a staff and over 200 children who are a wonderfully vibrant and noisy community where learning is about growing up into people who will make a difference around them. Two further visits to talk with folk who have ideas about how as a church we can grow towards being a vital community hub using our resources to bring love and life to our wider community. Then evening meal with our some of our younger family and a chance to catch up accompanied by nonsense, fun and laughter. Then the Church AGM and our review of how the year has been, and how we see our next year in this journey after Jesus, trying to keep up with him, following his footsteps, receiving and sharing his grace, embodying and practising his love.
So what to make of a day immersed in the lives of others, in a week on which other days were equally populated with people and rotating around meetings. It's hard to explain the privilege and contentment such friendships and encounters bring. Days like those only happen well if there are other days, when there is time to pray, and think, and recover equilibrium - not as self-indulgence but as a responsible stewardship of this instrument of God called by St Francis, brother body. And that's mostly what I've done yesterday and today.
The picture is of my friend who is a lover of jazz. Murray died last week, after a number of years coping with the consequences of Alzheimer's. Today I will share his funeral service with his family and our church. Somewhere within that gentle gift of a man, there is music, which I choose to believe means heaven has just accepted another member of its jazz club, a place where improvisation prevents an eternity of monotonous angel choirs!