Long time no blog. Mainly because I've been busy (in a good way) doing life.
I've been relearning the importance of many things that I had lost over the years. The simple fun of hospitality, as opposed to the burden of entertaining. The goodness of rest as opposed to the sometimes empty discipline of "the day off". The gift that is Grace and the joy of friendship.
This week brings some sorrow and some joy.
She was a young woman we watched grow up, become a mother, face many trials, bring laughter and at times, some frustration. Her son, Shaun, is, like his mum, full of affection. She would nip out of the service at regular intervals and in an obvious way for a break. She wrestled with many difficulties, not least in the areas of learning and relationships. Her mum passed away not long ago and that was blow to her. She was part of our church community, involved with international students (two way translation was needed!) and the St Silas' Community Choir (for whom she seemed to be a mirth-creator). She was much-loved. She was great with kids and the last time I saw her was two Sundays ago, as she played with little Sam at the front of church during the morning service. Both were happy and at ease. I am stunned at her passing and angry at the manner of it's coming. Yet I know that she walks with the Lord, and in that there is some comfort. Much prayer for her family at this difficult time.
Left: Nikki & Shaun
Today comes some good news - Daughter #2 got straight A's in her Higher exams. I'm immensely proud that another child has done better in her exams than her old man did. There is much to be proud of: a son who is entering the third year of apprenticeship as an electrician, a daughter who is currently a shift manager with a well-known purveyor of reclaimed meat patties and who is about to start studying biochemistry and pharmacology at Strathclyde University (not sure I ought to be too proud of the former, but she left school, got a job, and has clearly begun to climb a literally greasy pole), and a prize-winning artist for a third child. I've no idea where all that came from, but there is a lot of Grace involved.
The rest of August is a wonderful mix of rest, travel, work, weddings and friends. I'll likely be away as Nikki is committed to the Lord's care, for on Thursday, we head south for a wedding in Salisbury, then it's eight nights in Normandy and Brittany for a much anticipated and unprecedented second break of the summer. We have a one night stop near Statford-upon-Avon on the way home, then another wedding, a preach at a well-known southside Baptist Church, a visit to friends in St Andrews, then a Diocesan visit to our linked diocese of Gothenburg (going via Denmark!). That's more international travel in three weeks than I've done in the last five years and for some reason I feel nervous and a little guilty!