To you, my friends

The last six years or so I have found to be really quite tough, on the whole. The toughest years of my life so far, to be honest. At times I’ve really struggled quite profoundly. When dad died in 1998; as we moved to Inverness and away from established support networks; as my health declined (and to be honest, at times I let it: it was easier to cope ill at times, than well).

I’m struggling just now, wrestling with God, and myself, about what to do next, where to go. I don’t find life easy if I can’t see the big picture of where I’m heading. I’m a maps person; I like to see the big picture. But for the first time in my life I’m standing at the edge of the map. I can’t see what’s coming next. I’m both excited and terrified. I’m not sure I’ve got the capabilities or the self-confidence to pull it off (whatever ‘it’ is!). And yet, at the same time, I think I probably do, I just don’t believe in myself enough just now.

What’s got me through all of this so far has been a combination of God, Jane, my family and my friends. Oh, and lots of heavy metal!

I spoke with two friends on the phone this evening. I’d come out from (not ‘at’!!) a church Area Council meeting where we’d been discussing the Windsor Report (and I mostly listened) and for some reason (probably known only to my unconscious) I rang a couple of friends, as I sat in the car outside the cathedral.

Like most people I don’t keep in touch with my friends nearly enough. And yet, when I do get in touch — a phone call after many months, or an email out of the blue — I feel more alive, more connected, more myself, and feel that there are more possibilities.

So if you’re my friend and you’re reading this, please know that I love you. And thanks for being my friend, you mean more to me than (probably) we both realise.

(p.s. in case you’re worried, this isn’t a suicide note! (a) There are just some things that don’t get said often enough; (b) having a deadline of eight months to decide on my future doesn’t half focus the mind on realising the things that are important; and (c) read (a) again, it’s important.)

Returning to normal

Dining Room

Things are slowly returning to normal at Potting Shed HQ. Today we got our dining room back (left) … albeit that it is now harbouring Mum’s PC while it undergoes a full reinstallation of Windows.

James has been upgraded from a futon mattress on the dining room floor to a double bed in the guest room, while Joinee Hazel (#1) and Jo (from Devon) are leaving this evening, and have kindly stripped their beds.

It’s been great fun having so many people to stay. I’ll really miss it when they all go; I already miss Steve and Cath (TSP!) being here — their daily routine, the gig in the evening, but most of all their friendship and laughter.

This festival has reminded me a little of when I lived at the Shaftesbury Society‘s Lansdowne Centre in Bermondsey, London SE1. There were around 14 of us living there, and I loved it. I had my own space when I needed it, and community when I needed that too. We all mucked in together, cooked for one another, prayed and played with one another.

Good friends, good memories, and as much cleaning as I wanted! What a perfect way to live, in Christian community.

Village life

We have a couple of friends staying just now for the festival: James I’ve already mentioned, plus joinee Hazel (#1) and her friend Jo, from Devon.

This evening, when they returned from various shows in town, we were joking about how Jo must find this big city a real culture shock from her Devonshire village. I asked Jo if she found it unusual that she didn’t have to buy all her clothes and groceries from only one shop; the implication that most village shops are multi-purpose. You can buy your underwear, and your washing-up liquid from the same place. Or crockery and biscuits. Or board games and yoghurt.

But as I began to think about it, I began to realise that that’s Tesco! Tesco is like a giant village shop from 20 years ago. But with more trolleys. And now Tesco is the size of a small village! Very odd.