Don’t mind me. No need to move from your seats – I can squeeze past. I just want to get back to that seat in the corner. Yes, the empty one over there at the back. Thanks very much – yes I’ve enough room. Sorry I didn’t see your bag on the floor. I’m there now, I’ll just sit down.
That feels good.
I’ve missed this space, but I’m feeling a little shy as I come back to it. I liked being here in the corner, watching life and chatting to whoever sat close. I did quite a lot of thinking in this chair. It’s old, worn brown leather by the way. With cushions, because I like their softness. I’ve got a blanket for cold days, and sometimes I even bring a hot water bottle to snuggle up with when I need the extra comfort.
For the past year I’ve been away from here. I’ve been out there doing things. Mostly writing. But my phd thesis was handed in 9 days ago and today I realised that I miss writing. For the past three months I’ve written for several hours each day. In the past 9 days I’ve barely written a word, and I’ve felt a bit empty and agitated and nothing-y. Yesterday I emerged from the post-hand in stupor and it feels good. I’m ready to write again.
I may take a while to get going again here but I feel like there’s rather a lot to write about these days. I’m trying to work out how to live in the tension of life when there are such difficult situations both globally and locally but there are also good things and beautiful things and funny things and utterly inconsequential things. If I’m going to write, what do I write about ? Is it frivolous to share recipes and random thoughts ? Should I only write about the really big issues ? Can I write to try to make people laugh, or should I be using any platform to encourage political involvement or the challenging of norms ? Earlier today I caught myself tweeting about the fact that ‘Reese’s Rounds’ (peanut butter biscuits) are disappointing and if you’re a peanut fan you’d be much better sticking to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups . That tweet followed my other tweets berating the UK government for their ending of the scheme to take unaccompanied refugee children. Like peanut butter cookies mattered. I deleted the tweet because it felt crass and inappropriate and #firstworldproblems ++ but I’m not sure if that was the right response ?
In order to care about humanitarian crises must we stop being bothered by a not great biscuit? If I want to set up a group to challenge racism and celebrate multi-culturalism in my area ( locals watch this space) is it wrong of me to love nothing more than an hour of terrible American sitcoms on Netflix in the evening ? I saw something circulating on instagram last week saying much the same thing – can I be excited about Beyonce’s twins and be angry about Trump’s travel ban. Can I ?
I’m going to try. I think most of us live in a complex space where we celebrate the small victories and big joys in our own lives and those of our friends; where we can laugh until our sides hurt over a youtube video but we also despair at times about the state of the world, or feel our hearts break a little when someone we care about goes through a difficult life experience. I’m a follower of Jesus and I think I’ll take my lead from him. He was involved in the parties and the funerals. He got angry and he spoke gently. He played with the children and he addressed the leaders of the day. In this space I’m going to try to make room for all the thoughts and feelings and discussions and laughter.
You are very welcome here – there’s another chair right next to mine. Go ahead. Sit down.