Preciousness & Heaviness – Advent With Me (3)

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Got to keep on plodding onwards, with your precious load…had a heavy day… (Little Donkey)

We arrive at this season worn and tired – maybe it’s just psychology – we know we are ending a year, ending a term, starting again soon but often rather than winding down we numb ourselves with shopping, food, entertainment and drink  – with being BUSY.  I try to intentionally steer away from the BUSY word and whenever I sense it circling the radar in my brain I try to (not always successfully) examine my activities and decisions to check I am choosing how I spend my time rather than being passive in a people pleasing, doing driven, time and stifling culture.  The Advent With Me series has been about being aware of this in a fresh way and becoming more embodied and body conscious, as a living being in a living world – connecting with our own breathing in and out tunes us into others and it has not a lot to do with the events, consumerism and decadence of the days ahead.

This body-self buried under clothing, blankets, bloating foods & drink and hangovers, physically stretched in meeting the needs of the young, the old, the friends and neighbours is crying out for nurture, for it is the whole-self that is precious – if we care for its dignity and worth  we then care at our best for others best too.

So we carry our preciousness with our heaviness, advent holds a tension of lament & joy, an incarnation and embodiment of epic proportions.

Adventwithme3There has been some truly inspirational moments in the movement – treasuring life restored, peace and silence in the outdoors, beautiful skies, freezing air in healthy lungs and quiet evenings of reading.  There has been a discovery and/or recover of simplicity, slowness, quiet and beauty.  If you’ve been following the #adventwithme online you will be able to see some of the pictures, blogs, activities and thoughts that are precious and joyful.   Stop in the silence and listen to this fitting and unsettling re-mix of Padraig Ó Tauma’s opening collect as meditation.

But oh our heaviness…

Our lament in Northern Ireland this past week has been the disruption of a season; riots, violence, protest, fear and panic, damage to people and places.  A resurgence of political and war language on the streets, in the mouths of the young and the old.  An episode that many I know are despairing about – I have been fortunate to live here predominantly in ‘peace’ time – these #fleg days certainly feel like all the days arrangements whether social or profesional depend on where crowds are gathering, fires are starting and buses are stopping (reminiscent of twenty years ago I’m told, but nothing as worse).

Another lament this week as a community of women has been the marking of 16 Days of Action where women’s groups around the world create moments, memorials and events to raise awareness of the violence, inequalities and power dynamics against women on a global scale.  The feisty, mobilised and active Belfast Feminist Network commissioned a brilliant film this year to challenge the implied responsibility and guilt placed upon women via many anti-rape campaigns.  This season is emotional, painful and acute for many women; victims, survivors, relatives, partners and friends who been and have sat with women who have been the victims of violence.  Sexual violence itself it emotive, heavy and unseen, hidden, invisible, underreported but happening all the time in all cultures, in all communities.  I can’t do it justice in a short paragraph set within an advent series, but the theme of policing women’s bodies will come up again – soon.

The point is that this season of withdrawal isn’t only about comfort and nourishment for our benefit, to make us feel good and cosy; fattening ourselves on privilege, claiming things that consumer and majority culture tells us we’re entitled to.

This season can be about considering our entitlement attitudes, our assumptions and expectations – we’ve probably got them wrong…

Men who rape women…

People who burn flags and throw stones…

We who spend, watch, covet,  stress, anger, hurt, binge…

Let’s stop for a while…

Consider our preciousness,

And our heaviness,

And plod on…

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Filed under Bodies & Beauty, Culture, Gender, Talk About God: Theology

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