I’m currently sitting upstairs in my house avoiding the ‘home group’ (aka. growth groupconnect groupcare group,life groupfellowship groupsmall group, cell group) that is currently meeting in our home.

Part of me wants to go down and sit in the living room because I like everyone but part of me still doesn’t know how to sort  boundaries and if my wife being called to work in a church means that I am also called to work in a church by default.
I feel called to being an artist and would love to work at that now up here in my room. I don’t feel like there is ever enough time to get things sorted and who knows what I could come up with in the next few hours? 
If someone was on the rota at a hospital to work now they couldn’t come to home group.
I have to put myself on a rota of sorts and I know that I work best at this time of the day. So it would naturally be a good time to work on stuff. But I can’t concentrate as the people downstairs know that I’m upstairs and I know that they’re downstairs.  There is a guilt that I’m being a poor witness and a terrible minister’s spouse. It’s the boundaries. 

There is also a feeling sometimes that H is bringing her work home with her. Maybe it’s a little like a doctor bringing home his patients  or school teacher her kids every few weeks for a cup of tea and bun? Again it is OK but I find the boundaries in my head hard to manage sometimes. I know  church is a place where we should love each other and be open, where I am called to be a member and to love people, to be a friend and to worship. But I’m also an introvert who likes his own space, who needs time to reflect on things rather than sitting in a room rushing through an ice-breaker and 5 questions before working out how this applies to us to today and then praying and having a cup of tea and a bun. Even the way my beloved asks the questions in home group confuses me. Most of the time questions in the living room are asked naturally and without a small booklet. They have  context about what to have for dinner or’ what are you doing this afternoon?’ There is a certain tone of husband and wife just doing the day to day business. Then when home group comes it’s not the same tone and questions aren’t asked ‘naturally’ and it doesn’t seem so much to being my beloved but a minister, which confuses me and adds to the general feeling confusion or chaos but this time its not in the church, but in our home. It’s the trying to work out the boundaries or if there should be the boundaries and that sort of thing.


blurred lines


There was a point after church yesterday when I was talking to one man from South Korea, another one from Malaysia and yet another from India. This would not have been my experience of church growing up in rural Tyrone.

I know that there had also been a couple of men from Turkey who are learning English and had come along. Then there are all the Africans from different parts of that huge continent that make up the majority of the church.
I don’t know whether I am coming or going.
Galway seems to be that type of city. Always in flux with visitors, tourists and students.
It could be a bit overwhelming.  How do you put down roots in a city that seems to be so fluid?

Now that I think about it perhaps that explains the need to paint the repaint the house we’re living in and get things planted in the garden ASAP, to get the curtains down and new ones up. There is a need to somehow change it from a house to a home.  In a city with so much flux and movement it feels like having a place to call home is important, a place where things are familiar and comfortable.
Part of me feels guilty that I can’t just make do with the colour/patterns of the carpet in the hall and landing. There are refugees that have slept the night in tents across the world. There are people who would love to live in this area near the sea and in the west of Ireland. Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining about the look of a mahogany chest. Stop driving the wheels of consumerism! Stop wasting the churches money!
But living in our last house nearly drove me crazy. It had no natural light. We made do with paper thin short curtains that didn’t block out the street light depriving me off many hours sleep.  It was hard to heat so we froze.

There is also the weird dynamic at play that it is also a ‘manse‘.
So it is our house but it is also the churches house. They are your landlord. In another sense they are  your landlord who is also your spouses boss.  Blurred lines.

printing out a funeral

I’m printing out the funeral
and it isn’t right

it isn’t right at all

for you could print out many funerals
have them ready to go
but what could you really say?
what could you really say?
to a grief-broken family

the printer stops
their world stops

think of the heart broken ones
 facing the grave in the morning
and the minister who must also face the grave
and witness to grace
I don’t envy her task
I feel for the family
God help them all