Instead of the more usual trip to LEAF for the Space to Grow session this Thursday I went to an event organised by the NHS called “Spirituality and Mental Health” – it was an interesting morning with both some honest and heart touching real life stories from service users of Sheffields mental health services about the role spirituality played in their path of recovery – but also challenges to both NHS and faith communities about how to provide support that better met the mental health needs of people.
It began with a discussion of what we might mean by “mental health” and shared with us this definition by the World Health Organisation: “Mental Health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” Based on this definition Sheffield Health and Social care (SHSC) Trust have made a commitment to regard spirituality as a key element in the holistic approach to recovery.
This holistic approach is exactly what lies behind the Quiet Garden idea at Yew Lane, whether you come to us for worship, a quiet day retreat, a gardening day, or for soup on a Thursday in the “Rest Room” we try to create a space that provides that caring and compassionate space that we all need to recover from the stresses and strains of life.
And the final quote from the day: “Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” Henri Nouwen. Here at the Cross at Yew Lane we hope and pray that we will always have that “inner disposition to go with others”.
From 23rd February we’ll be starting with a new regular weekly quiet space at The Cross at Yew Lane. The building and gardens will be open from 10am until 3pm every Thursday and will offer a quiet space for anyone who wants to use it for; prayer, relaxation, reading, studying or even a quick nap!
Each session will be hosted by someone from the team at Yew Lane, and it will also be possible to book times to meet with someone from the new Listening Service based in Parson Cross with PXI. At 12.30pm there’ll be chance to enjoy some more hospitality and share some soup and bread with each and enjoy some shared time together. Keep watching for more information.
Tonight Judith will lead Prayers for Healing at The Cross at Yew Lane. It got me to thinking again about the nature of the “Quiet Garden” and our hope to be a place of hospitality, rest, growth and renewal.
I recently read this: “….gardening itself can be a deeply instructive and healing experience.” Quiet Garden Cuttings No6, and wondered why it is that for many people, gardening and spending time in the garden, offers such an experience.
The Quiet Gardens Movement: http://www.quietgarden.org/ of which The Cross at Yew Lane is a member emphasise the benefit of gardens and gardening for emotional, spiritual, and physical well being ….. but still why? What is it that makes gardens and gardening so powerful in the search for health and well being?
Here’s one thought; “Community gardens are restorative in many ways. They enable people to become better connected with their land, their food, and the people around them, which in turn fosters community, encourages good nutrition, and increases stewardship of the land.” (Therapeutic Landscapes Network). Add to this the fact that gardens force us to slow down, to work within the framework of seasons, and daylight hours, they bring us into a closer relationship with creation and perhaps with God.