Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A new broom sweeps clean

Working in a charity shop.  I guess the sheer flow of items and information that passes through the building offers Spirit a richness of random material to work with.  All I have to do is pay attention.  Right?  

Well, it is not that easy.  As I am sure you know, when you are swept up in the material goings on of everyday life. Checking the fire exits are clear, keeping a dozen volunteers occupied and cheerful, answering the back door and bringing all manner of bric a brac through into the shop for sale, filling up clothing racks, sorting, steaming, measuring, labelling, pricing all the while keeping an eye out for shoplifters.  No, paying attention to spiritual matters is not something that is at the top of my  'Things To Do' list.

When I joined the charity shop one of the volunteers there said to me 'new broom, clean sweep', meaning me, as the new Assistant Manager, being the new broom.  No. This is not my style. I would never stroll into a new workplace and make sweeping changes without having the full picture of what goes on or how the place operates.  Nor am I, technically, a new broom. I am not a new Manager. The emphasis of my new job is on the word Assistant. I am the new Assistant Manager.

It is a proverb I thought I understood though.  The new broom, making a clean sweep. It means a person being newly promoted to a post will perform the job more vigorously than their predecessor.  Which could be true.  Not in my case.  In my case, I like to take things slowly and learn how the land lies.  

Anyway, this week, two things occurred to make me pay attention.  Firstly, a book of proverbs was being sold in the shop. A dictionary, really, a detailed history of many common proverbs.  Secondly, one of the volunteers couldn't find her broom.  She likes to sweep the shop floor clean at the end of the day with a long handled bristle brush.  We all looked everywhere.  No, the broom is missing.  We are going to need a new broom.  There it was again, the new broom reference.  Okay then, maybe I should pay attention now.

At the end of a long day, I made it home, armed with my newly purchased proverb dictionary.  Waiting for the kettle to boil I opened the book and it fell open on the page with the proverb 'A new broom sweeps clean'.  I felt strangely drawn to read the paragraph, as if I was being prompted to read it by an invisible presence.  It is difficult to explain what 'guided' feels like, but I was so tired from a long day in the charity shop which is laid out over two floors and has a reallllllly tall set of stairs, the last thing I wanted to do was read.  But there I was, reading in the kitchen.

 'Go on then' I thought to myself, 'what is this book going to tell me about the new broom business'.  Well, apparently the new broom thing came about when a Dutch Fleet (from memory I think it was the Dutch) declared war on the English fleet and said they were going to sweep away anything in their path.  In response, an English Admiral tied a broom to the mast of his ship....(as you would), and made some equally explosive declaration about brushing them aside.  All very interesting. Not to mention that sailors then went on to tying a broom to their mast to indicate their ship was for sale.  Okay then.  No. This was not the surprising coincidence.  It was the name of the English Admiral that jumped out at me.  His name?  Robert Blake.  The name of my brother (now in Spirit).  

Yes, I have been reminded, again, that even when we are completely immersed in material matters, Spirit still have a way of reaching out to us.

Lots of love and light to everyone who needs it.

Tamasin x

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