1 November 2010

Remember to breathe

Life is busy at the present time, and the words of the title for this post summarise the mantra that a few of us are using. I don't know what it's like for single ordinands living in college, but for this married one who lives out of college, and has a young daughter, it's hard to get the balance right at the moment.

First there's the reading. Given that I'm reading for a Cambridge degree, there's an expectation that I will do a lot of reading. There are set texts, and then a multitude of more detailed ones for when you need to write an essay. It feels like, even were I to dedicate all my time to reading, there would still be more to do, and I would have missed all my lectures in finding time for all the reading.

Then there's the writing. The system here is to have lectures and supervisions. Lectures are straightforward, but supervisions are new to me (we always had seminars at Lancaster). In a supervision, one person writes a short essay, and the other members of the group produce plans for how they would have written the essay if they had drawn the short straw. I have two supervisions this week, and I'm writing the essay for each one (so I probably shouldn't be blogging).

Then there's praying. At Westcott, you'll be pleased to know we do a fair amount of this. Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline are said in the house each weekday. Ordinands are expected to attend a good number of these, though there are some allowances for those with families, who may have some parental duties to discharge a couple of times a week.

Then there's family time, which happens just before bedtime and on weekends. Actually, that's an over-exaggeration. DrLanky and LittleLanky frequently come in to join me for lunch through the week. But I no longer have the chance to take responsibility for breakfast time in the Lanky household - I leave the house while the other Lankies are safely tucked up in bed.

Then there's the attachment parish. Mine is wonderful! Last night's task was a trip to the pub with all the people who used to go to Evensong before it became to small to be viable. Next week I will act as Deacon at the morning service. It actually feels like an oasis of calm for me at present. The incumbent knows what it's like for ordinands, and has realistic expectations of what we can do. Having said that, I need to start thinking about the advent service and planning a sermon series for the new year.

Then there's a social contextual placement. Mine is with a youth work charity, and I'll be in a school one afternoon per week working on a transitions programme for children who are finding the change from primary to secondary school a bit tough.

Then there's thinking. This tends to happen between the rest of the things mentioned. Sometimes during a bike ride across Cambridge.

Don't get me wrong. I feel very privileged to be here and to have this opportunity, but I find myself having to turn to my mantra on a daily basis right now. Remember to breathe.


  1. Please note, the items above are not in any order of hierarchy, just the order they came out of my head.

  2. I love your blog - it is realistic. I am due to start at wWstcott next September - it is good to get what sounds like the truth!

  3. That's Westcott- obviously...

  4. Not much differant here in Cuddesdon- except that to add into the services mix is an optional daily Eucharist and the morning and evening prayers are compulsary. I'm reading for a masters which is also a new system to me- it feels like lectures etc are for our core subjects and then we go away and read for our portfolios for the masters on top- which I'm having trouble getting to grips with. that said I wouldn't be anywhere else doing anything else at this time.

  5. Glad to hear you get to spend time with the family as well. It's too easy to get so taken up with all the new, exciting, important things and trust the special people in your life will make allowances. But life's not really like that. Every Blessing