A heartful of small things

Sometimes, said Pooh, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. (AA Milne)

And sometimes I have a week or so, when life - and my heart - just seem to be filled with all sorts of small things. A few stand out. Yesterday, for example, I met a friend of one of my community with whom I had hitherto communicated on Facebook. It was interesting, having "conversed" in short typed sentences on Facebook, to discover what she really sounds like, to interact with the real live person behind the profile photo and to share her delight at again seeing a city she used to visit as a child.

The day before I had met someone whom I last saw over sixteen years ago. She had been the novice director for her congregation when I visited them whilst looking at different communities, nineteen years ago. I cannot remember what I told her about my vocation story, but I can very clearly remember what she said to me. She didn't actually say "I believe you have a strong vocation", but what she did say told me that she believed I had a strong vocation. She also told me she didn't believe I was called to her congregation (the reason she gave was a very good one, and my lack of disappointment was a strong indication of the rightness of this), and generously gave me contact details for somewhere else. By the time I visited them I was starting to feel drawn to the Society... and the rest is another story, already told elsewhere.

After that we met a met a couple of times when I was a novice and she did input on the inter-congregational course. And then nothing, until a few minutes on Saturday, when she heartily told me I looked like I'm flourishing. Which I am, but it's always good to have such things affirmed, especially in a brief encounter like this one! So this brief meeting is currently occupying quite a bit of my heart.

I have also just finished reading The Abbess of Crewe, Muriel Spark's delicious satire on the Watergate scandal. The first time I read it was only a decade or so after the scandal itself, when it was still a living memory, and phone hacking had not yet been dreamt of (through lack of technology, not because Nixon might not have stooped that low!). Now, Watergate is a historical event, its memory kept alive by the overused -gate suffix. So this time, I read the book with one eye on the Leveson enquiry - and it was just as enjoyable. There is a real irony for me in the fact that the politicians and establishment complicit in Watergate were exposed by some excellent investigative journalism, whereas now it is journalists as well as politicians who are in the dock.

But the book sparkles, and contains some excellent prose - almost throwaway, background lines. How I would love to be able to set a scene of outwardly genteel intrigue like this: It is summer outside, and some of the old-fashioned petticoat roses that climb the walls of the Abbey look into the window... The self-controlled English sun makes leafy shadows fall... A bee importunes at the window pane... The self-controlled English sun... so few words which convey so much...!

And for once this month, that self-controlled English sun threw restraint aside and gave us all a glorious weekend!