I arrived for a meeting today that didn’t happen. Probably my mistake – somehow I had in my diary to be at the Corn Exchange in Lewes for a review of the ‘Thrive’ programme – which is the remodelled work with children, young people and families for East Sussex County Council – the need for the phrase is to improve services and see a more empowered, better informed workforce. Well, I don’t work for the local authority but, as a voluntary sector rep I have been invited to be part of the change process, witness the learning taking place and input a voluntary sector perspective along the way.
Well, I think the meeting has been postponed – nobody there and local Lewes staff didn’t have anything in the diary either. Three hours I was not expecting – I didn’t dash back to the office, I wondered what it might be to meander for a bit and think about stuff.
Sometimes we have to make the most of the thinking time when it arrives (especially if we find it hard to naturally plan that time into our diaries in the first place).
What better time to do that than today, Ash Wednesday. I was ‘ashed’ this morning and then dashed back into the office (ash then dash!) . . . Much to do, especially as I had this afternoon meeting coming up . . .
I have also noticed today, and in the time building up to Lent a whole bunch of blogs, tweets, emails etc that have encouraged me to ‘be the change I want to see’. The whole Thrive project is about change and change management, things are going to be different stuff has to change – we have to be proactive in changing our work habits to bring it about etc.
I work for the Diocese of Chichester and if there has been a constant over the last seven years it has been ‘change’.
My children are changing – at a crazy speed, my pre-school children are now both at school, one in juniors the other in reception. We get used to one pattern of clubs, groups and learning topics and a set of clothes our children look gorgeous in – only for all that to change within a term, every single term, no let up – constant change.
I am also approaching 45, as I scarily noted in a jokey tweet (to hide my fear and shock) I am only 5 years away from going on a SAGA holiday! Everything for ‘over 50s’ seem to have grey haired, old men in weird jumpers – no, this is a change to far!!
Anyway, the phrase ‘Be the change’, as I have sat here, on Ash Wednesday, I have appreciated this unexpected window of calm. I think for this Lenten season, rather than ‘change’ (getting old, getting my head round yet another way of thinking about my work, in the midst of the change I cannot do anything with but . . . Go with it) I want to concentrate on the first word in that statement ‘be the change’. I want to just ‘be’.
I want to ‘be’ secure in the midst of all this change by trusting in the changeless one – Jesus.
I want to ‘be’ able to take these moments of calm and appreciate them without guilt about my to do list or email inbox.
I want to ‘be’ with those who matter most in my life – and truly be with them, being fully present in those precious times.
Change is part of life; who I choose to be in the midst of that change (and taking the time to notice) is how I want to ‘be’ during lent rather than something else that I have to ‘do’.
Does that make sense?