Go back to normal view
‘Now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and
to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray’ [Luke 5: 15-16]
In the few days surrounding the birthing of this article, there has converged a strange companionship of
related events: each of them, characterised by getting away from the familiar.
Yesterday (Monday), I took my monthly Quiet Day: apart, in a tranquil place on this occasion, much of
the time spent in the open air of beautiful early summer downland scenery; with time given to pause
and pray, to read at leisure, and to be re-made. It was freeing, and fruitful.
Today (Tuesday), I am with fellow governors of Bishop Luffa School, sharing our own annual away day:
off-site from the school, with work to do; but team-building also on our agenda; and a desire to
encounter one another in our fuller humanity… Just who are these assorted individuals with whom I
seek to serve a common duty and a public service? Again, the experience has been enriching and
And, then, tomorrow (Wednesday), our first Parochial Church Council of the 2019-20 year will again take
us away from home territory, this time to Funtington village, in an evening that contains a fair element
of fellowship and worship - content that is shaped to remind us of the broader nature of our purposes
beyond that mereness of assessing and doing ‘stuff’.
I would not want readers to imagine that such excursions of the spirit make up the entirety of my ‘working’
life, but it is good occasionally to step aside and be reminded of a wider picture.
It is of incalculable benefit to all of us to attain a different vantage-point or perspective; our busyness
and our limited horizons conspire against us in so many ways. It is wholesome to see our daily activities
from the outside .. instead of that interiorised view with which we are overly familiar, and which can so
readily become our jailor.
Sometimes, the distance provides its own medicine: whether miles away, or just by radical change of
setting; thinking is freed; emotions liberated; and new perspectives may emerge.
Sometimes, the company of others can be of blessed benefit. Honest conversation has its part in
spiritual direction, life coaching, counselling (though the latter can be more crisis-driven); .. but equally a
simple experience of togetherness, that reminds us of commonalities and differences - gifts differing,
amid a shared humanity. These things are good.
Whatever the motivation, such opportunites may re-energise us, restore balanced priorities, and allow
us space to ‘breathe’. Holy has to do with wholeness; and holidays, are thereby to be holydays.
Take a break, if you can. Do not let your present perspective be the only one. Dream your dreams. Count your blessings. And be restored.
And if you could do with some help in imagining your way into such opportunities, I and others would be pleased to offer suggestions and help you to reflect on what might serve your needs.
Wishing you refreshment,
Andrew Doye, Rector
‘Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see …’ [Bohemian Rhapsody]