It doesn't seem that long since this was my first start, only beginning blogging in February 2008.
It was a big step for someone brought up as a Liverpool/Irish cradle Catholic inbred with a fear and reverence for the Roman church, personified by the parish priest, but not much knowledge of God and not particularly expected to have or voice an opinion about their faith.
But new beginnings aren't limited to blog sites and over the years I have learnt a bit about priests, more than I would sometimes like about the Church, and lots (but never enough) about God.
Today's Gospel story was Luke's account of Martha and Mary which, considering it is only about 120 words long, tends to haunt me on lots of different levels and probably tells you a lot about where I am 'coming from'.
On one (not all) of its levels this is a woman's gospel, particularly if you are a Catholic, because this says a lot about the attitude to (and often by) women and their role in the church.
A minimum two thirds of Catholics are women and what do they do? If they are involved in the church - which they often are - then they are Marthas; Martha really does nothing wrong in this Gospel, a good Jew, she is obeying the Law of hospitality, she is caring for others, she is using her 'talents'. Women everywhere support Martha for she mirrors their role; the Welcome team, social committee, cleaners, visiting the sick, children's liturgy - being useful, being practical, being good.
Occasionally, you get one of those women in the church; a feminist, a questioner, a liturgist, heaven forbid a theologian - who won't help with the Christmas Fair or make the tea at Council meetings - in other words, a Mary. And it's surprising, in these days of equality and pluralism and freedom, that these women are still viewed with suspicion. Yet Jesus says that she is in the right place. She should be at his feet, learning scripture, learning the faith so that she can tell others. Don't get me wrong - not instead of men - for when did Jesus ever refuse to teach men? But as well as, together with, as part of the body of Christ that St Paul tells us we belong to.
So, there you are, I am a Mary, with vestiges of Martha, for acts of hospitality and care are required by all of us, and in the Catholic church that's a challenge - but whoever wanted an easy life?