In the middle of the school holidays, we are getting ready here to receive two of our granddaughters who are coming to stay with us for a week. It will be the first time that they have stayed on their own with us and, although we are very much looking forward to having them with us, I have a degree of trepidation too. For some reason the younger generation seem to be much more switched on than I was at that age (they are 4 and 9 years old). I can’t remember ever telling my parents how to find a particular channel on the TV, or how to use a phone. That was probably because there was very little choice of TV channels and we didn’t have a phone!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’ve been thinking of different things that we can do in the week. One of the things is quiet time and reading books, but I think quiet time will be more for me than the girls! We have various books for children here, one of them being ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. It’s quite a well known book in which the Hungry Caterpillar spends a week eating through various kinds of unsuitable foods for a caterpillar. By the end of the week he has a bad tummy. The following day he sensibly eats a green leaf. Having satisfied his hunger he builds a cocoon where he stays for two weeks at the end of which he is transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
This got me thinking about various things, healthy eating being one of them, but more about that another time maybe. What really struck me was the fact that sometimes we just need to be still. We might feel like full on mush, as the caterpillar turns into at the start of the transformation process. But the fact is, it is a process of transformation and being in the right place, staying there for a period of time, results in something almost miraculous. Maybe it is miraculous.
I have no doubt in my mind that at some point in the week when the girls are here, I will feel like mush. The point is though that we can spend quality time together and they will hopefully have fun but also learn from us, and we will have fun too and learn from them! As you read this article, no doubt the children have gone back to school, you may have gone back to work, or life generally has begun to take on a greater degree of normality for you. I hope and pray that you will have found time during the Summer to take time to be still and simply “be” and discover that in the process you emerge feeling much brighter. As life does move back to normal, perhaps we would be wise to make sure we enjoy quality time with family and friends, don’t rush from A to B so much, and as Autumn is on the horizon, take delight in the change of scenery around us. Being in mush is not always that much fun, but if we dare embrace the process, then beauty emerges. Despite these days of uncertainty, may you see beauty around you.
Rev Julie Methodist Minister
PS The Hungry Caterpillar is a very short read with lots of messages!