Category Archives: Convent

Experiences and meditations from life within a small Anglican convent.

Notes on my Spiritual Journey 4 – The Convent

My decision to leave university was both last minute and unexpected. As such, when I came to look for something to do a large aim was to find something which would give me the opportunity to reflect on my experiences and reassess my future plans. After an initial light hearted suggestion to my chaplain that I go off and become I nun, I approached an order in Birmingham to see if they’d let me live alongside them for 6 months. As it would have it, after an appropriate time of discernment for all concerned, I moved in about 6 months after leaving university.

The space provided me with great love and acceptance as well as encouragement to be myself. I truly began to understand that in serving the needs and requirements of those around me, especially those who were very humble and unassuming, I could not only find myself but also find great joy in that action. The regularity of routine, particularly meals and prayers, helped me to develop beyond my university experience and grow into an adult.

As part of my stay, I was encouraged to combine activity with action to deepen my understanding of my faith. I undertook an introductory course in Biblical Studies which helped my understanding, and my volunteering both inside and outside the community gave me many ways to see the ways in which the action was as important as the prayer and bible study.

The final part of my stay which continues to be of relevance to me is my spiritual director. During my residency, I was encouraged to find someone with whom I could share my thoughts and feelings about faith. I was perfectly matched on my first attempt to find a director, and continue to see him regularly. He has shared with me different facets of my spiritual experiences over the last 5 years. The sessions frequently provide a useful reminder of things which may have happened some time ago, or of changes I have made. My visits to see him also enable me to continue to visit the sisters and, no matter how formative each strand is, I find them permanently linked.

The sisters were truly welcoming and encouraging and it remains a great honour to have had them welcome me into their lives. They continue to be like family to me and hold a very special place in my heart.

Wonderings

All this talk of convents has got me thinking. I don’t think that I ever got round to writing a proper reflection on my time in the (not the one on the telly) convent. I wondered if people thought this would be worth reading. It’s two years, almost, since I left so I have had plenty of time to think.

Also, prayers would be appreciated for my grandad who is particularly weak and frail at the moment. I get the impression that folks at home are worried. It’s also a year since he had his stroke and it is almost time for my sister and nanny’s birthdays too and it would be nice if they could celebrate without worrying about Grandad so much.

Thanks.

The ongoing electricity saga

My flat is now into the third day without electricity so I’ve decamped to the convent. The sisters have been brilliant and put me up for the last 24 hours. It’s great to be clean and warm again. I need to go back to the flat later to meet with the landlord to see if there is anything that can be done to help. I’m not sure there can be as I’ve tried everything I can think of but we’ll see what happens. My mum wants to be updated on any progress and she’s being quite funny. She’s trying to make me fully aware of how serious this is but to me it’s just an inconvenience – albeit a big one. I had nothing in the fridge as I hadn’t plugged it in. It does mean that I can’t upack properly, or clean, or cook, or have a bath or shower, or do washing, or have lights on, or heat the place to name just a few problems but life still hasn’t come to a *complete* standstill.

It does mean that mum’s planned visit is under threat as she won’t stay in the flat unless there is electricity. All I can say is it is a good thing I’m staying with Mum for Christmas.

ARGH

I’m currently in an interesting situation with my bank. They’ve stopped by bank card as they’ve sent me a new one – or so they think! They contract a courier company to deliver the cards securely and expect the company to get proof of identity and a signature from the person receiving the card which is understandable but they can’t find me. I ordered a bank card almost 5 weeks ago and none of the facilities are in place to arrange a delivery properly.

Anyway I spent the whole day in my flat waiting for the delivery. It’s the second time this week I’ve done this and the forth time in all but still it didn’t arrive. My flat isn’t the most accessible place in the world ever but eventually after ranting at them yesterday I gave them directions and was assured of delivery.

Suffice to say nothing arrived and nothing got done as I was constantly waiting and checking to see if any vehicles had arrived outside. I was so exasperated.

My holiday isn’t panning out too well really. Seeing as I couldn’t stay with the nuns I reassessed and decided I’d do two day trips on the days when I’m not doing other things. To lose one of those days just made my irritations about the holiday even stronger.

I’ve got so much to do that it’s really not going to turn out to be a break at all. And I can’t even shift this cold!

As I said above, ARGH!

Being mature and grown up

I do try from time to time to do one or t’other of the above things. Hopefully not at the same time but I’ve faced the consequences today. I’ve got a cold and I’ve had it for a week now. I’d hoped that it would be getting better by now but it’s making little impression of it. I’m off to the doctors soon to check that it hasn’t gone to my chest. Anyhoo, I was supposed to be going to the nuns to stay for a week and I’ve cancelled. It’s not fair on a close knit community, especially one with some relatively old residents, to go and stay when you could pass on the lurgee. It’s really quite gutting as I was really looking forward to going and I thought it would do me good but I’m sure that I’ll think of something else to do for the free days I have.

If anyone has any suggestions of places North of Birmingham and South of Lancaster in the UK that are worth visiting please feel free to let me know. I was thinking of visiting Liverpool but I have been there on several occasions. Manchester likewise so I’ll see what I can come up with…

Oh, I have potential dates for the party too. Either November 17 or 26. Hopefully the 26th and I really hope there’s nothing that should be in my diary for those days…. 8pm if you’re interested.

I’ve got a lovely comfy chair

I’ve been given a lovely, really comfortable chair and it rocks, literally. It was quite a chore to get it into the flat as it’s wider than the front (well…) door. Eventually, after surgery, we got it into the flat and it’s so comfortable. I can get really settled now.

It was quite weird though as me and my friend were discussing my time in the convent. She said did I by any chance know of a certain person who had also gone to stay in a convent. Yes I did know her. She had been in the same convent as me at the time I was there! How bizarre. It’s such a small world as I’m not that near to convent now.

On a different tangent, I’ve started a new routine and I’ve been doing it for four days. I’m so hopeless at these things I thought I’d not make it past two days.

Wow.

Arrived

I arrived safe and sound. I discovered the landlord had acquired a bed for me. The relief. It’s a double too. Means I don’t have to sleep on the floor for the next week.

I’ve decided that the comfy chairs, while looking comfy are just too foul to use so will see if they can go. I’ve been offered nearly a dozen chairs anyway. It’s tables I’m short of… not that I’ll have space with all the chairs.

My colleagues bought me nice pressies which I’ll enjoy. I got a Peace Lily, which I’ve had to leave in the convent for now, and a £10 Debenhams voucher. 🙂

It was hard saying goodbye to the sisters, especially my mentor sister. She sent me a really nice email this evening to say that she’s missing me already. 🙁

The first batch of my stuff should arrive tomorrow. I think it will take ages for it all to get to the same place but it will keep things interesting.

I didn’t realise proper cleaning took so looooooonnnnnnnnng. I decided to clean the kitchen properly and even tho it’s small it still took all afternoon. I even cooked. Both these things are a shock. What I had forgotten to collect was my crockery so I had to come up with creative ways of serving the food. I also don’t have a fridge or freezer yet so it will be an interesting diet for a few days or weeks.

Anyway, shouldn’t be online through my mobile. It’s expensive. Will blog again when I can find some form of internet access.

Night

Landlord problems.

The agency phoned yesterday to tell me that they’d spoken to the landlord now that everything was definate to negotiate on things like furniture (I wanted a bed, now I want a house). His response was something like, “Ah. While I was away on holiday my mum let my house and there’s nothing I can do about it”. I thought this to be something of an interesting situation as I thought landlords had to sign tenancy agreements too…? What ever happened fundamentally it’s neither my fault nor the agency’s but I intend to make them pay. I can’t actually afford to make any more trips to The Other City. The agency are gutted and angry too because it makes them look incompetent apparently. So does mistyping every letter that’s gone to my mum so she’s even less impressed than she was before!

The agency tried to find me another property in the same area of the City and even negotiated a cracking discount for me but it’s still over my budget. I told the agency that fundamentally I didn’t care what had happened but I care how they are going to fix it and I care that I’m technically homeless after Saturday. They are also going to provide me with a list of properties, a driver and someone to show me round anywhere that I want to see. Because I’ve already been through the mill at the agency they can confirm somewhere straight away tho. I have been offered accommodation with friends and everyone is being really supportive but it’s hardly the ideal way to start my career.

I’m going up north tomorrow night and will stay until I have found somewhere. This means I *need* to pack everything today in case I don’t make it back here. It’s really sad that I’m losing so much time with the sisters. I’m supposed to be having a sort of end of time meeting soon but I don’t know when it’s going to happen.

Just to top things off, the guy (ex housemate) who was harrassing me earlier in the year is back in touch. He’s been trying to talk to me on messenger while I’ve been typing this and he emailed me twice to get in touch. If I’m not talking to him and haven’t in over a year, you’d have thought he’d get the message. I’ve now blocked him from messenger and his emails fall into the spam filter but it’s still not nice.

Suk, If you find this you are doing well, as I don’t think you know I have this. If you haven’t already got the message, I DO NOT EVER want to hear from you again. I have changed my mobile number and you don’t have it. I haven’t told you where in the country I am and I have absolutely no intention of. I have been advised to report you to the police and the medical school for your inappropriate behaviour and all in all, I’ve had enough. If you have problems with this, tough. You should have thought about that before making my life a misery. After I moved away last year I hoped I’d never have to suffer you again.

Anyway, back to househunting…

Emails and Dreams

Or even dreams and emails. That is the right order in more than one way.

Had the weirdest of dreams. It involved homophobic abuse, people from Home, from Student World and from the convent. It definately wasn’t fun. Oh well. It wasn’t real either, but it did mess me up for the rest of the day. Serves me right for not getting up when the first alarm went off. It happened between the alarms. Must. Do. Better.

I have been promoted to a dafter level of minion that before. I am a sucker for taking on more jobs and not saying no. Must learn from Alice’s list. As a result of my latest scheme I need to send out a whole bunch of emails and letters. Ideally before I move house. What with this being a good church structure it needs the approval of a committee first. It may take a while and I move in 9 days. I think I should have been more organised. Even so, I came online to email folks and I’ve forgotten who I came to email. Oops. I got distracted by my mentor sister who has just returned from holiday complete with a beach.

My mentor sister has ‘mum’ed me and supported me brilliantly throughout the last 6 months so it was really good to see her again.

There is so much to think about at the moment tho. My latest scheme is needing to have some idea about a church to go to. I’m not sure I want to stay where I attended last time I lived in The Other City but I also need to find somewhere that will accept me for who I am without saying nice things like I couldn’t possibly be. I also could do with finding someone who I could explore new spiritual direction things with. Hmmm… the church can be quite a problem at times.

Randomly changing the subject… Does anyone know of someone who might be able to lead a Christian workshop that’s crafty and to do with textiles, like making banners? I really could do with someone.