The building itself was impressive, with a huge main hall containing dozens of sculptures, and several side galleries where the paintings were housed. We paid our entrance fee and looked forward to a happy couple of hours admiring works by Monet, Van Gogh and others. It always feels a little surreal standing in front of a well-known painting you've previously only seen in a book or a magazine. And the pictures were, for the most part, amazing - although one or two were frankly bizarre.
The Welsh poet, W.H.Davies wrote in his poem, Leisure:
He was writing about the need to stop and appreciate the beauty that is all around us, but I think his words could equally be applied to our spiritual lives (and by extension, to our writing). When I'm at work, I find myself rushing from one job to the next. Weekends are too often spent catching up on all the other things that need to be done, and sometimes spending time with God gets relegated to the bottom of the list. I tend to be a Martha rather than a Mary, prioritising busyness over sitting still.
Experience has taught me that I flourish spiritually when I make time to sit and enjoy God's presence instead of rattling off a quick shopping-list of prayers and then dashing off to the next task, but it's a lesson I need to keep re-visiting - how about you?
Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013 and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. You can find her on Twitter at @FionaJLloyd. Fiona is vice-chair of ACW and is married with three grown-up children.