Diary of a Sunflower: 19 August, Year 3.

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

Yesterday, after I’d been singing in the garden, I had a moment of realisation. Serenity is not just about an absence of turmoil; it is not just about being able to accept the things you cannot change and to let go of stuff; serenity is knowing consciously in your heart that God is there with you. There may be storms around you, but you know. It is serenity that I want more of in my life. When I meditated on the post resurrection story with the disciples in the room, I was serene.  

I was the one who had discovered Him earlier in the day. The room was like the Arches prayer room here, except bigger. There was a large section behind three arches that were hung with heavy curtains. Behind here was the sleeping area. In front of it were coffee tables and low comfortable chairs like we have in our staff room at school. There was the arch shaped door (wooden) at the head of this, some wooden benches in the corner and a kitchen unit down the side. The walls were white. To the back of this section, behind an arch covered in a red voile curtain was a gas cooker and a small table. I was there making coffee for everyone and taking some bread, that I’d just made, out of the oven. Fast was there. The others were discussing if I had gone mad again. Reliable came in and hugged me. She said she’d heard what had happened and was I okay? I said I was. I was serene – in my new understanding of the word. Fast said: 

They don’t believe you; you know.

I know, but they will. 

I said. We took the coffee and bread and jam through. The ten who were there were my brothers and sisters, Sedation, Compassion, Sceptical and Confident. I didn’t know who wasn’t there, but they were all my “doubting Thomas”, except Sedation and Compassion. When we came in with the coffee, First was saying: 

I’m not saying Sunflower’s wrong…

and Fourth replied: 

Yes, you are…

First looked at me and said :

No offence.

None taken.

I said. At that moment, Jesus was there, putting His coat and His staff in the corner. He said, looking at the coffee:

Is there one of those for me?

I’ll get You one.

I said and He thanked me, smiled and squeezed my hand. I patted Sedation’s shoulder and smiled on the way past. The others were speechless. Jesus squeezed in at the top and sat down saying: 

So, what plans are we making? 

I brought His coffee and sat to the side, listening and watching. He was arguing/discussing all their gripes with them and there was banter, laughter, heated argument: and a glow spread from Him through all of them. I felt serene all the time. 

I have become a little frustrated with my daily meditations book – I find it quite superficial and not spiritual enough for me. 

Diary of a Sunflower: 17 August, year 3.

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

I spent much of yesterday in pain or asleep. My companion gave me some pictures (I picked them out actually) of Peter denying Jesus three times and Peter getting out of the boat to try to walk on the water. Since I meditated on the latter last year, I chose the former to work with. There were several ways the scene seemed to play in my head, but they were to me contrived, intellectual, my brain working them out. The only one that wasn’t only got as far as the servant girl saying to me: 

You were with Him, you are with Him, aren’t you?

And I couldn’t reply to her. I said to Jesus: 

I want to say You are my Lord, You are my God. You are everything to me. You are my wisdom and my fire, the reason I am who I am, the reason I do what I do.

But I couldn’t. I was awkward, embarrassed, afraid. Anything other than the above would be a denial, I wouldn’t even have to say no. 

Today I contemplated the boat story again. This was, I think, the first time for a long time that I’ve been able to be in the story and let it take its own life. It feels like it anyway and I’ve missed that.  

Anyway, I was in a small rowing boat on my own, being tossed about all over the place. I was sick over the side and I lay on the bottom of the boat with my arms and legs braced on the sides. I felt like I just wanted to die. 

God help me!

I cried. the next thing I heard 

Sunflower.

and I sat up, feeling very woozy in the process. I could see Jesus in the distance, walking on top of the water. There was a fairly calm path to Him, but the storm was all around.  

Jesus, can I do that?

Come on then.

He replied. I stood up to step out and the boat wobbled. I put my hand out over the side (after sitting down again) and felt the black water giving way to me. 

I can’t.

I replied. 

Yes, you can, come on.

I can’t, I can’t.

and I started crying.

I’m not brave enough. I’m worthless. I have no courage and I have no faith.

He told the water to be calm and it became glassy smooth. He walked over and came into the boat with me. He held me and I cried. 

I’m sorry. I’m so useless.

He turned me round so He could cuddle me from behind. 

It’s okay; it’s okay.

He said, as He stroked my hair. 

Do you want to try again?

And we went back to the point where I cried out:

God help me!

It happened the same until the point where I stood up and the boat wobbled. This time I closed my eyes and stepped out. The water came above my ankles, but no further. 

You can do this.

He called to me and I walked towards Him. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I would step in up to my knees and I would begin to be afraid, but He kept encouraging me. When I reached Him, He held me and helped me back into the boat. I was laughing and crying at the same time. 

I knew you could do it. You just have to believe in Me.

He said and He held me as before and stroked my hair and kissed the back of my head. He squeezed me tightly to Him and said:

Mine, and I’m yours.

The storm was all around us but in the eye of it was our calm, flat little bit of water with our still, safe boat. 

Diary of a Sunflower: 15 August, Year 3

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

15 August, I think that is what day it is – but to be quite honest, I’m not entirely sure! I will ask my companion tomorrow. 

This morning we were out walking “on the path of life”, both of us wearing our boots, and we stopped to watch the sunrise – it was amazing! red, gold, orange, yellow, coming out of the darkness. It started to rain then, and we held our arms out wide and turned our faces up to it. I said: 

It’s raining.

I know.

JC replied. I said:

You’re wet.

I know. Isn’t it great?

And we were laughing together. The birds started singing again and the animals came out once it had stopped. The trees were juicy and dripping and green. The point? Light after darkness in the sunrise – resurrection after death: tears in the rain at arms held out in the crucifixion, the greatest thing that ever happened. And after the rain? Everything washed clean and life being lived and refreshed. No wonder we were laughing! 

Diary of a Sunflower: 13 August, year 3

I meditated on “Who do you think I am?” and made a spider diagram with Jesus in the middle. It was quite useful. My companion also asked the question “Who do I want Him to be?”. (This made me smile.) and to listen to what He said to me. I want Him to be what He is – fire, wisdom and a bit quirky. These are the things on my chart that seem the most important in my life.  

He asked me: 

Why do you get irritated with St Theresa?

and I said it was because she let others diminish her; because they told her that her visions came from the devil and she believed them, just like that, because she was a woman and not learned! I’m not so obedient to the “Church” as that: I would argue the point. but then, I’m not living with the Spanish Inquisition! And anyway, God found a way around it. I guess that’s the point. It doesn’t matter how we are, if we want Him, God will find a way through. He will use what we are, what seemingly gets in the way, to draw us closer to Him – if that is what we want. JC told me that I was intelligent and wise. I looked at Him to see if He was making fun of me – He just laughed. 

Sometimes it is not the leader’s fault if the group won’t follow. The weakness is in the group and their free will, not the leader. Stay longer. 

You see someone who thinks Himself wise? 

More to be hoped for from a fool than from him.  

Prov. 26.12

I’ve now made a chart with me in the middle and around it, who I am to Him. That was interesting. I feel quite euphoric today. I want to laugh and shout out loud and dance. I wasn’t sure if I fell asleep while I was meditating this afternoon and it was then that I got my strongest images of who I am to Him; at least the first ones – mother, grandmother, sailmaker, yachtswoman and forgiven. Naomi came earlier as an explanation, and Sunflower, teenage daughter and fool came during the exposition. I’ve had less full techni-colour pictures in my meditations – I’m in and out of it, and although the pictures today were short, they were the clearest yet on this retreat I think. They were not as the result of making an effort to focus. I read more of St Theresa’s book. She did argue with those who criticised her. And I’m picking up the vibe that she argued quite vehemently too! Maybe not so obedient and downtrodden then! 

Diary of a Sunflower: 12 August, year 3

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

It was nice to talk to my companion today. I feel more calm now. Maybe the fear of reliving the pain I feel because of my dad’s death (and to a certain extent Desolation’s) is actually worse than the pain itself. I don’t want it, but as my companion pointed out, Jesus didn’t want that cup either! Maybe holding on and not letting go is about more than that. How deep can you go? There is comfort and compassion; a suffering with. All this God talk feels alien to me again, after staying away for so long. I guess that is something I will have to put right. My companion has given me a book to read: “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” by Margaret Craven. It is about sadness and death. I’m just getting into it. 

I finished the book and I wrote a letter to my dad. The floodgates have not opened. I miss my dad, and I feel sad at losing him. but I don’t think I will go back to the intensity of the pain I felt when he first died. I am not unresolved at his death. I have accepted it. There are no floodgates holding back waves of unexpressed grief (and not for Desolation either). The fear has gone from me and I think, I hope, I will be okay to let myself go deep into this prayer and this retreat. I finished the book my companion gave me. It was poignant, sad and beautiful. Mark found his true self before he died. 

I meditated on Matthew 11: 28-30 earlier. 

I sat with JC at the piano for a while and then we were at the Opera. He sat back in His chair with His fingers together – a bit like Dumbledore – and He listened. It was an angel singing and she rose from the stage (the Opera house in Rome). It was mesmerising. We then went to the Colosseum. We stood at the wooden pathway and looked at the cross there. It seemed bigger now than when I was there in January. There is a bitter sweet irony of the cross in the Colosseum, but He pointed out that it was the cross all Christians bear – right from the beginning, from those who died at the hands of the Romans in the Colosseum. I have mine to carry too. 

This evening I meditated on the reading from John 1: 35-39 again. 

This time when I went with Him we walked further, holding hands; sometimes He had His arm around my shoulder and mine around His waist. The river was on our right and I was wearing sandles and my retreat clothes. The place at the well was on the other side of the river when we stopped for a rest and it couldn’t be reached. We were leaving it behind. I noticed that we were walking against the way that the river of my life was flowing and He said: 

There is no time: no past, no future, no present. Time did not exist.

Walking in that direction seemed to mean the same as swimming against the tide. (But the salmon in the book were carried with it backwards anyway!). Then we were walking away from Jerusalem and the well, and the river on the other side. This time I was dressed for walking – with boots, a small day sack, water and a cap. I said I would follow Him. He told me the road would be long and hard and that there was no destination – I would not know (or He would not tell me) where we were going. I said I would go anyway. Then we were dancing a Viennese waltz. It made me dizzy and breathless and I started laughing. It reminded me of when I’d done that dance with the Chinese boy at university. The trick is to relax, to let go and let Him take the lead. Don’t try to control it – that’s when you fall over. The key to success is to follow His lead! The walking was brisk, sportif. It made me hot and sweaty and raised my heartbeat. Not just a gentle stroll then. But I will go

Diary of a Sunflower: 11 August, year 3

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

I’m on retreat again. I just arrived this afternoon and had dinner. Meeting the directors in less than an hour – I hope I have the same companion as the first time again. I’ve changed the week I was going to come to be here to when she was going to be here, and I’ve requested to have her as my companion. I hope they have obliged. I’m quite nervous about this retreat because I’ve had a really rough year. Although I’ve tried to meditate latterly, it hasn’t been as regularly or as deeply as before my dad died. Part of me is scared to go there for fear of unlocking floodgates that are holding back more pain. Still, this is the place to open them and let it all out. But I’m not without trepidation. I’ve rearranged my room as usual – the beds are just too soft here. Now I’m just waiting to begin. 

I did my first meditation. I’m scared to let go. I try to analyse each image during the meditation – I think it keeps me holding on and stops me from getting too deeply into it. I cried for my dad – there’s my fear.  

There was an image of Jesus playing the piano, Diva’s piano, in a room that is a mixture of the John Lennon “Imagine” video, the large windows in the sitting room of this place and the picture that Dishonesty and Unknowing have in their living room. It was comforting, soothing. What do I want from God? I want to lose the fear inside of me – the panicky feeling inside my stomach. I want to be able to go into my meditations like I did before; to not be afraid of the feelings I might tap into and the intensity of them. I want to be with JC. The other image I saw was the bitter wine – not a jug, but in an unopened bottle on the table. There was the golden eagle my dad showed me in Morar, and the well. I fell into the well, but never reached the bottom, and as I was falling, it became a waterfall. 

Diary of a Sunflower: 2 August, year 3

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

I’m looking forward to going on retreat again this year. I’m trying to get into meditating again, but it needs to be a more regular habit. It’s not so easy. 

Diary of a Sunflower: 2 July, year 3

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

I feel really tired and stressed at the moment. I’ve got to watch that line. I meditated tonight (the Hebrews flight from Egypt), and I’ve got to do more of that. It is not so deep as when I’m on retreat, and God does not seem as real or as present when I’m here and busy in my life, but it does help me. It grounds me and keeps me calm and purposeful. I guess I don’t feel so frustrated because as a result of tonight’s prayer, I understand that I might be changing my methods – getting out of Egypt in a night, but I can’t change other’s experience and attitude overnight. I have to keep chipping away at it and persevering. Ephraim might be a well-trained heifer, but even if she wants to get out of the rut and plough a different furrow, the plough might not want to go, and if she is to have her way – which is God’s way if it is putting the meaning back into what she is doing – then some struggling, effort and not giving up is required!  

I was weary travelling out of Egypt tonight, my feet and back were sore and although there was a crowd, I was alone and lonely. There was some respite in the manna – and a light-hearted feeling of joyfulness and wanting to dance. I went to the well briefly – it was my oasis – and there was some manna on a plate as well as the bitter wine. JC was there too, and I had a much-needed rest. 

Tomorrow I will persevere! 

Diary of a Sunflower: 27 January, year 3

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

I felt happy today; energetic, without that tiredness I’ve had since my dad died. 

Sunflower made this entry in the morning. Later on the same day she was knocked back when she was told that a young man she knew at work had committed suicide the previous day. She focused on work and exercise and gradually began to pick up. She did not write about God or her prayers during this time. 

Diary of a Sunflower: 23 January year 3.

The diary entries are extracts from my spiritual journey, going back about twenty years.

No, I tell you this because I was told to tell it – by what you might call ‘ a higher authority’ – and truth is, the thought of how to tell it has taxed me for so many years.

Miss Garnet’s Angel, Sally Vickers

I don’t do enough meditating. I need to re-establish the habit. I think I will start tomorrow and resolve to meditate once a week to begin with. I need to build the frequency later, but that is a challenge to start with.