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.)

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

3 thoughts on “To you, my friends”

  1. Hey Gareth – how lovely. I’ve a kinda sentimental yet somehow experientially true feeling that God never just leaves his people alone in the world – especially ones as beautiful, talented, skilled and funny as you. This standing on the edge (if you’ll pardon the expression)maybe opens up and allows us to see new vistas. Hang in there!

  2. Hi Gareth, life does get harder, but when you look back over the years you realise how much you have grown in wisdom. Keep growing and keep trusting, all will be well.

  3. Hi Gareth – I love you too. Was trying to think of some witty anecdote to go along with your maps analogy. Failed. Sometimes we have to journey places and create the map as we travel? Is that deep? When you find where it is you are going, can I come too?
    Yours, also mapless

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