The first week in March marked the first anniversary of my move to Stanford-le-Hope. Looking back on what the past 12 months have brought my way is slightly awe-inspiring. I do recognise the usual admission of ‘it seems like only yesterday…’ but more truthfully, noting all that has happened, and all I’ve done, it seems to add up to more than a year’s worth.
I’ve lived in 5 houses, with 15 different people. I’ve spent 100’s of hours in local schools, doing prayer spaces, cafe, chaplaincy and more. I’ve eaten dinner with people from Canada, Germany, Sweden, Macedonia, Switzerland, Germany (again), and more. I’ve probably at some point prayed at every hour of the day. I’ve experienced tears of joy, anger, laughter, dancing, tears of sadness, fear, happiness, heart-ache. I’ve read books, sung songs, written reports, cleaned floors….The list could continue. It’s been a busy time. But I am learning to be thankful for all of it, even the tough stuff. As my 12 year old friend prayed the other day, “Thank you for the bad times, cos somehow you make even them good as well.”
So when I look forward, what I am really hoping for is a repeat of the year just gone. This may seem odd to say, perhaps a bit boring. Who wants to go over the same things time and again? But I do not hope for an exact repeat with the same events and circumstances. I dream, that like last year, the next 12 months will challenge my selfish attitude, and push me to rely more on God and not on myself. It will give me opportunities to bless my friends and others I don’t yet know, cause me to feel love more deeply, and to love more deeply. It will make me more open, honest, soft-hearted, trusting, vulnerable, and peaceful. How will it all happen? I don’t yet know. But it’s ok, I don’t need to know. I only need to follow the one who does.