Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 21st January 2024

Dear Friends, I have just been listening to an interview with the Irish poet John O’Donohue and was struck by his phrase ‘biography is not identity’. Telling someone my story Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 21st January 2024

Dear Friends,

I have just been listening to an interview with the Irish poet John O’Donohue and was struck by his phrase ‘biography is not identity’. Telling someone my story is not the same as them hearing, seeing, knowing who I am.I was recently invited to ask myself the question ‘Who am I?’ whilst looking in the mirror in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. I haven’t managed to do that but I have considered the question, and although I don’t have John O’Donohue’s turn of phrase I’m quite pleased that I came to much the same conclusion as he did.In my explorations and reflections of who I am I found myself starting with a list of things I like, and like doing. Having done that, I then described myself as being on the edge of things. I am drawn to the boundary between the land and the sea, to the edge of a wood, to the place where things change, develop, move forward. I am often on the edge of groups and communities in some way. But this is a description of where I’m comfortable, not who I am.If I feel sad, is that who I am? No more so than if I feel happy, so I am not my emotions. And yet they are a part of me too. Who am I when the roles of mother, partner, friend, daughter, sister, stepmother, aunt are stripped away from me? It’s difficult to think of the essence of me in isolation from those relationships – it’s so easy to feel that the me in human relationships is who I am and perhaps that is where I show some of my true self. But this is still not the essence of who I am. That is something different, unchanging, a still, warm, loving place within. And yet it can be nourished and it can grow. Sometimes it’s nearer the surface, more obvious to those around me. Sometimes I hide it away to protect it. Life is generally easier when I feel connected to the me that I am – not my biography, what I’ve done, how I behave, but the still small voice within that is me, loveable, loving and loved for what it is, loved by all that is, which I call God. In FriendshipRuth Auduson behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)