Yet another full on day... but wonderful. Amongst other things...
My youngest brother arrived and we went for a walk down Newhall Valley, my former "thin" place, first time I've managed it in daylight (went once in the almost darkness with Mike). My brother was patient while I tried to get photos of robins and a heron, and rose hips sparkling in the rain. This little one hid behind a branch, but did keep turning his head as though to allow me to get the best angle. I really miss robins. We have them in Portugal, but they are a different species, shyer and not so cute. Here is a Radio 4 article on the British love affair with redbreasts, including the fact that they are the only birds that carry on singing throughout the winter, hence the name of our subspecies, melophilus = song-loving.
Then a session with our beloved Cath, mission team leader, and lunch with her, Ju and Celia. Then a quick march to join folk from church to sing carols for the residents at the home Paul works at. He'll be home soonish for his dinner, which is on a plate, saved from the dinner Deb made for us all here - so we'd clear up!
And then my brother will return from his work to sleep here before taking my other brother to Texas for Christmas tomorrow.
Finished Becoming by Michelle Obama, what an excellent read. No wonder it's become Britain's Christmas best seller, 92,000 copies sold last week here, making her the first person of colour and only the second woman (after J K Rowling) to win that spot. It's well written, vulnerable, honest, and such an insight into a remarkable life, as well as an antidote to cynicism about politics and about what is possible. Here are the final words of the book:
Let's invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It's not about being perfect. It's not about where you get yourself in the end. There's power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there's grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.
The Advent reading today was Luke 1:5-25, where the angel appears to John the Baptist's Dad and says:
“Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer (for a child, though they were both old) has been heard."
Today I join Michelle in praying that we can become that sort of people.