Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fool

Every month I visit my Spiritual Director and, every month, he says to me - I asked you to think about doing less and you come back doing more! You have to start saying 'no'.

To reinforce it this month he has given me an elastic band to wear on my wrist and every time I get asked to do something or, more likely I see a 'something' that needs doing, I have to 'ping' it. The idea being that it will make me realise what I am taking on and give me the chance to change my mind.

I remember the 80's, the 'end of society' as Margaret Thatcher called it; the end of normal family lives; Sabbath Sundays and shops closing at 5.00pm. It was all about ambition 'no matter what', particularly for women, who had to become 'superwoman'. Saying 'yes' to financial and career success meant learning to say 'no' to incidentals. We even had courses on it - prioritise what's important to you and dispose of what is left. I used to find my list was somewhat upside down to everyone else's and would often have ten number 'one's rather than 'one to ten'. 

I haven't got much better. In fact, in many ways worse, as I am no longer as likely to say 'yes' out of guilt and I know that I  can't 'fix' everything that comes along (having worked through those two reasons) it's  just that I say 'yes'. And I do believe it is harder when it comes to spiritual matters - being there for others - how do you know what is important? For one thing we are meant to be, like St Francis of Assisi, fools for God. I am not important - you are. 

And then - you never know.... the number of times I have sat alone on our Open Church evening only to have someone come five minutes before the end...but who really needed to come. Or someone who quoted back at me some comment or phrase that has helped them that I can't even remember saying. I can say the same about words of wisdom or gestures of support that I have had from others. And as a worker in a school I know that sometimes the help you give is only realised many years later.

 I am wearing my red elastic band and praying for the discernment to choose the less foolish path. I know my SD is right and I may well need to start saying 'no' some day.

But now I am taking on this A-Z April blogging challenge to follow the alphabet through the 26 (not counting Sundays) of April. Starting with April Fool; you may wish me luck with this one. 



Daisy said...

Good luck with your A-Z challenge! I quietly tried posting every day, but didn't persevere. Sometimes, a gal just has to say "no"! :-)

Word in the Hand said...

You're right, Daisy and the intention is there but the reality may well prove otherwise...still...