Thought for the week – 23.9.21

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I’ve been finding the concept of ‘joy’ a difficult one as we’ve been emerging from restrictions over the past few weeks and months.

Back during the depths of the lockdowns the idea of letting go of such restrictions felt like it would be a joyous occasion, but now we’ve reached that point I’m finding it challenging and stressful – especially amidst soaring cases in town and the surrounding areas, not to mention news bulletins overflowing with war, terror and political point scoring.

And yet ‘joy’ is a word that keeps jumping up at me from the pages of my Bible. The word is mentioned 242 times. It’s got to be important, right? So why am I finding it so hard to find?

Recently, I joined the wonderful Oban Wild Swimming group that meets at Ganavan at 6pm each evening for a bracing half-hour dip. I have no doubt that the exercise, the friendships and the fresh air have all been a huge boost to me. Bobbing around in the water – sometimes so clear you can see the fish beneath your feet, sometimes so choppy it feels like a roller-coaster and you’re guaranteed to be slapped round the face by at least one wave – the cares of the world are stripped away and, suddenly, something clicked for me.

I was reminded that ‘joy’ doesn’t have to be bouncing with happiness. It can be a deep and quiet centre where I have the space and permission to know that each and every one of us is loved unconditionally. Out of that space can bubble happiness, giddiness and love overflowing, but it starts with a still small voice.

As we continue to move forward into whatever our new normal will look like, I challenge you to search for your deep set place of joy, find out what nourishes it and prioritise that.

Emily D’Silva, Parish Assistant, Kilmore and Oban.