Sunday, December 11, 2011

Readvent 9: Influence


My greatest influences:

1. Dancing

Ever since I was a little person in a white leotard and pink socks, dancing has always spoken to my soul. The rigorous discipline still finds me pulling in my stomach muscles and standing up straight before a meeting, using my face to sell a song whilst singing, being aware of the muscles in my body and what they're doing, even when sitting.

I see in shapes and colours when thinking, a product of learning to choreograph. My work ethic and my ability to work in a team were also honed in a dance studio. I probably also learnt how to manage many egos too.

I also loved the costumes and sets in dancing, and a large chunk of my A level art was about dancers.

I've not longer got the figure or the flexiblity of a dancer. And I'm sad about that.

I still cheer mysef up by dancing around the house when I'm alone.

2. Chaplaincy

When I tumbled into the world of chaplaincy at the end of my first year, I didn't realise it would bring me life long friends, a husband, a renewed and strengthend faith, a passion for hospitality, chances to debate into the night, and an experience of living community.

I can't express how grateful I am to all the people who built that community and gave their time.

I would have never read Oscar Romero. I wouldn't know who Dietrich Bonhoeffer was. I wouldn't know what it was like to be accepted just as I am. Thank you.

3. My parents

I've written before on what I learnt from my dad

Growing up in a house full of girls, I'm always surprised how many of 
Dad's hobbies he managed to share. I read the label on every exhibit
in a museum just like him. I spent three hours in the London Transport
Museum, which would have done him proud. I share his love of choral
music, and family history. We would watch Formula 1 with him, and go
to transport festivals, and war museums.

From Dad I get my public speaking skills, my gift of the gab, my love
of the craic. I was used as pro in many talk during family services,
and it's a sheer delight to watch my Dad now taking the tentative
steps towards a vocation in the church, turning these skills over to
God in a new way.

I also got from Dad the idea of what a husband should be. Watching a
man who has to work hideously long hours remembering to buy the yellow
rose for my Mum every Christmas, tucking handwritten notes into packed
lunches and praising my Mum for her creativity her talent, catching
them smooching in the kitchen and cuddling up to watch a film.

and from my mum? How to sew, knit, paint, glass paint, pergamano, sculpt, bake, lacemake, garden, write, read, the list is endless. Mum thinks outside the box. She uses her creativity to solve any problem.

Need a remote controlled goat with removal legs for a school production of Joseph? No problem. A full on Joseph coat with the colours in the fabric in the order of the song so you can point to it as you sing? No problem. Alter your ballgown the day before the ball No problem. Look after your kids because you're having an emergency? No problem. Again the list is endless.

Mum's good at radical hospitality, and putting people together. She'll talk to anyone and put them at their ease. Thanks for teaching me about all these things.

4. Books

I couldn't pick just one book, but reading and books play a huge part in my life. I have visited other places, countries and worlds through books. Their knowledge just seems to sink in through my pores. I can swallow a book in a few hours if it's good, and the ability to do this has provided me with ideas that have challenged, scared, pleased, and made me.

I remember reading Emily Dickinson as a teenager and memorising her poems because they sang to my soul. Rereading Gaarder and Pratchett and Austen again and again. I would love to pass on this love of reading to any future children. The Yarn Harlot was talking about how her family was choosing their favourite childhood books to give to a much anticipated new arrival in her extended family. This is such a lovely idea, and I'm going to be stocking up on copies of Mr Magnolia Has Only One Boot, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Tinker and Tanker.

5. The Internet

I love this big and sprawling connected thing. As a teenager I taught myself HTML as I just wanted to see how it worked, and now it lets me keep in touch with friends and family around the world. I can read tutorials and instructions on just about anything. I can peer through the digital net curtains and read the blogs of others. I wouldn't be without it.

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