Mike writes: This weekend will be the first anniversary of my retirement from full time parish ministry. This Christmas has been very different from the last 30 or so years. I needed Christ to be very present to me in order to ward off a sense of being in the wilderness. To some extent, I have felt separated from everything familiar. I have been unable to reach out and touch what is familiar because it no longer is.
At times during this year I have felt that I cannot know Christ other than when one knows on entering a room that someone has just left it. The absence leaves a sense of presence (very R S Thomas, I know!). But that has been my experience.
Retirement, for me, has been a kind of dying in the hope that I may be born again. A period, still ongoing, of laying down what was in order to gather anew a sense of self. To use an image of Christmas, there has been some unwrapping so that more of my true self may be revealed - a 'nakedness' before Christ and with Christ. A sense of his Spirit dissolving layers of the old ways of being in order that the new may reveal itself even in this latter part of my life.
The Christmas story is full of journeys made and I sense we are all journeying for different reasons and and different ways. The Christmas season invites us to briefly turn aside in awe and wonder and pay homage to the One who travels with us, sometimes recognised, sometimes hidden, sometimes unknown. There is a warmth and wildness to this journey, which I have been particularly aware of in this first year of retirement.
Mike (Barnard Castle, UK)
Comments about the site
Just wanting to say “yes” to this. You will be speaking for, and to, many. I will certainly be passing this on to others, and will contribute some thoughts myself later.
So, I was delighted to see Feral Spirituality make an appearance. I'd think you could find many wanting to join in