We have spent a couple of days in Liverpool, which was restful; and also a joy to meet Jude back from the land of Oz, and to see all her photos.
On a visit to Newcastle recently, I went to spend some book tokens, not being too sure what to buy. One book jumped out at me, as one of my 'rescuers' had recommended it to me: 'the Book of Joy', subtitled 'Lasting Happiness in a Changing World'. Written by Douglas Abrams, it is an account of a week spent recently in the company of the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on the occasion of the former's 80th birthday. He records their dialogue, on finding joy in the midst of turbulence and sometimes of pain. As both have suffered much in their lifetime - the Dalai Lama through exile and the Archbishop in the years of South African apartheid - they have real and deep experience to share. Though both come from different religious traditions, they clearly have much in common, asserting the need for rigorous mental discipline, space for contemplation, and a desire to bless humanity.
I have found particularly helpful their 'Eight Pillars of Joy', which they expound as a form of positive thinking and blessing when faced with circumstances which might otherwise depress or oppress. The pillars are:
I look forward to reading more - and putting them into practice.
This evening, a confirmation at Dean. Two men from Broughton, who have recently come to Christ; and the wife of one of them who chose the occasion publicly to reaffirm her baptismal faith. Such a joyful occasion, especially as all 3 chose to share their testimony. It was significant that all three faith stories involved a wedding last year. In the case of the couple, it was their daughter's wedding - she and her now-husband is a Christian, and the whole service was filled with a strong sense of God's presence; in the case of the other, it was his own wedding last year (in mid-life) which started his journey. Makes you realise just how important it is to do these services well.