Friday, 31 July 2009

hooray for people

There is hardly a more gratifying feeling than to sense that one can be something for other people. Here it is not at all a question on quantity but of quality. Ultimately, human relationships are simply the most important thing in life. ... Even God himself lets us serve him in human ways. ... in life human beings are more important to us than everything else. This certainly does not mean a belittling of the world of things and material achievement. But what is the most beautiful book or picture or house or property to me compared with my parents or my friend? Naturally, only those who have really found people in their life can speak. Yet for many people today, a human being is only a part of the world of things.

Bonhoeffer.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Becky and Jared's wedding



what a week!

last week was hectic to say the least. I'm still recovering. It's funny, it was a week that influenced a lot of my thinking and planning for the summer, especially when i was thinking of travelling and not staying and working in Brighton. Why? Because this week had 2 wedddings, 1 graduation, 1 open day for stuff i want to do next year, and a camp with the youth group that I've been helping out with this year. SO... quite a lot! At first I'd been prepared to miss them all, but then felt it was actually really important to celebrate these important life events with people that i love. So i booked the week off work, started thinking about the dresses i'd need to pull out the wardrobe (!), began planning games and a talk for the youth camp and tried to get my head around where I'd need to be when (made more difficult by the fact I'm kind of living in 2 places at the moment!).



First wedding was lovely, Becky Beaumont - a friend from school and church in Oxford married Jared Carr, a tall funny American man that she met several years ago doing a DTS with YWAM. a lovely day!



Next day was the Cambridge trip and then on Monday a full day at work which left me feeling like I'd had no weekend, and no time to rest at all. Which is where things began to get difficult. The week hadn't even begun and I already felt like i just wanted to collapse in a heap. I wasn't just tired but also overwhelmed by several people around me going through hard stuff at the moment. It felt like the very most I'd be able to do was just survive THE WEEK. Which is not quite what I'd had in mind. i knew i needed to fight in order that JOY WOULD NOT BE STOLEN from the upcoming events, but felt like the last thing i could do or wanted to do was fight.



SO what can i say? except

'thank you'


thank you for friends who put their arm around you and pray and get you to read Psalm 23....



even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death

STILL you are with me

thank you for parents who give good hugs and encouragement



but most of all, thank you for Jesus. Thank you that He IS Mighty to Save. That He answers our prayers and gives strength to the weary. Thank you that there is always Hope because He defeated death.



It wasn't all easy. My bike was stolen on graduation day, i found the DNA open day really really hard, friends are still struggling, and i did feel pretty exhausted most of the time.



BUT. I got to saturday morning, the day of the second wedding and the sun was shining and i had had a good sleep on friday night and i could look back and say IT WAS GOOD.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Cambridge




OK, i'm going to try summarise, briefly, the trips I go on, for anyone who's pondering visiting some of Englands touristy bits...

starting with today (and i may backtrack when i have time)...

Cambridge. like they always say... IS JUST LIKE OXFORD! it's uncanny, actually, as someone who's lived in oxford for several years and never visited Camb before. but definitely smaller. took no time to walk around the centre.

The river is pretty and punting possibly nicer as you're quite central when you do it, more so than in oxford. There's a nice meadow bit down river from the punting station by the anchor pub. St John's chapel.... NOT worth £5!! especially when it's FULL of tourists. but that might be a personal bias. find it weird having to pay to go in a church, and although the building is very impressive, i wonder how many people connect with God there...

if i sound slightly on the negative side it may be due to some overly typical english weather... heavy showers all day! all part of the experience i told the students....

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Lion

"Who are you?"

“Myself”, said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again, “Myself”, loud and clear and gay, and then the third time, “Myself”, whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it.

Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.

The mist was turning from black to grey and from grey to white. This must have begun to happen some time ago, but while he had been talking to the Thing he had not been noticing anything else. Now, the whiteness around him became a shining whiteness and his eyes began to blink. Somewhere ahead he could hear birds singing. He knew the night was over at last. He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite easily now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun.

He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller that the horse, a Lion. It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful…. After one glance at the Lion’s face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything.

The High King above all Kings stooped toward him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung around the mane, was all round him. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared. He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And the birds were singing.

From Chapter 11 of 'The horse and his boy' by CS Lewis.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

"WORK"

It's been a while. the reason: not a lack of things to say, but FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT. yes yes, that brief interlude of endless free time is over, the diary is back to being full again and sleep time is precious. BUT, as much as it sometimes feel like it's taking over life a little (early mornings, evenings, weekends, etc all feature on the schedule), I am so very grateful for the job because it feels like it fits me pretty good, or i fit it, or something.

So, what is it? Well, I'm working on campus (and also living there, which is a little strange seeing as i no longer study here and it's been 3 years since i lived here...) for the Language Institute as part of the social programme team for the international students that come here for the summer to learn english. Which so far means, quite a lot of office time putting together posters, plans and itineraries, making bookings and plenty of photocopying... all of which isn't the funnest but is good experience i guess, and then taking people on trips and social events. To be more specific it's been taking a really fun group of Spanish primary school teachers to Hampton Court, Bath, Stonehenge, and a beautiful walk by Seven Sisters (photos to come) and then going to the pub last night with all the new arrivals who are from all over the world really. As you might guess, pretty fun! And as a bonus I've been able to practice my Spanish and get to know plenty of great people, including those i'm working with everyday. So, yes i feel very privilged to have to job!

I really like working with international students, i'd even say it brings me alive. I guess i feel like I have something to offer just by the fact that I am from here, that I know the place and that I speak English. So just by welcoming someone, or explaining something, or speaking slowly so that they can understand, you can make a difference to someone's experience here. Whereas around English people perhaps i feel there's more expectation - like you have to be specially interesting or funny or clever in order to make a mark, or to fit in even. Which I know suggests I'm looking at things the wrong way, and I am hoping to learn not to think like that and to be OK with just being myself in all situations, but that's just me being honest. But yeh it's encouraging to feel like this is the right place to be right now. :-)

anyways i am in the office and i should be making restaurant bookings for the "scandinavian social" next week, so that's all for now folks!