I am tired; I am weary,
I could sleep for a thousand years
(Velvet Underground, ‘Venus in Furs’).
Sunday, June 2. 2.00 pm: I ran to Llanbadarn Village with the Velvet Underground pounding in my ears. My habit is to break journey at the church, which is one of the few in the area that remains open between services:
The dim interior – illuminated only by the light that enters through the stained-glass windows and a domestic table lamp at the bookstall – is conducive to contemplation and prayer. Its walls have heard the whispered articulation of my most intractable and convoluted troubles, which have followed me about like stray dogs and cats for several years. But I always leave and return to the beaten track consoled that my requests and complaints have been heard.
Monday, June 3. 6.30 am: Indoor stir-ups. Where possible, the outer and the inner are developed together.
8.00 am: A communion. ‘You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers’ is a sentiment that I’ve expressed to others and received myself in bad times. It’s a great consolation to know that we aren’t alone and forgotten in our predicament. When I say ‘in my thoughts’, it’s to convey the idea that the dire circumstances of another person’s reality interrupt my own reality throughout the day. I can’t be fully at ease, when they aren’t. And, by an exercise of the imagination, I endeavour to stand with them against the on-coming tide of troubles, and intelligently consider what they’re going through. When I say ‘in my … prayers’, it’s to assure them that, whether or not they’re a person of faith, those thoughts are also being translated into an appeal to the maker of heaven and earth. The Apostle Paul wrote: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4.6). And God will act responsively; their appalling fortunes will be either altered or redeemed or made more bearable as a consequence.
8.30 am: Half in, half out, today. In: I challenged my Inbox, reviewed the week’s appointments, addressed postgraduate matters, and returned to writing monitoring reports. 10.00 am: Tea (again) and a view of the garden. That tree is now as alive as those fences; an over zealous tree-surgeon put pay to it. As in life, the dead wood of, for example, abandoned projects, hopeless longings, failed relations, broken promises and trust, and impossible friendships, continue to have a vestigial presence. At my elbow, I objectified some of those intractable troubles that were written in prayer yesterday. Might they be unrooted forever one day?:
Out: 12.45 pm: An earlier lunch in order to permit my arrival at the School by 1.30 pm. The Vice Chancellor was due to arrive at the School. (This would be of greater import to us than any visit by Trump to the UK.) At last, the entrance to the School is getting fixed. We’d have to take the tradesman’s entrance into the building for some time to come:
2.15 pm: A roundtable talk with the VC and all staff. It was a frank, helpful, and encouraging discussion on a number of fronts. A little appreciation and recognition go a long way, too. 3.30 pm: Back at homebase, I carried on where I’d left off. 4.30 pm: A pastoral tutorial by Skype with one of my charge:
7.30 pm: On with completing my main supervisor monitoring reports, email catch-up, and beginning to upload marks and feedback to blessed Blackboard for the remainder of the evening.