A month ago today. Ethos resurface. A little rusty to say the least, playing at an event in Reading. The tshirt tan begins, skin is uncomfortably forced to reacquaint itself with sunburn. I was reminded of how passionate I am about the guys in the band – a reinvigorated worshipper, excited about the month ahead.
The following day. Great day at church picnic. Laptop slides from waivering case and headbutts the floor. No life in the laptop. Worst thing ever. Definitely made the following statement: “Ah well, it’s only a material possession, it doesn’t mean anything ultimately.” I wish I’d meant it.
Next few days selfishly mourning the loss of laptop. Spoilt westerner. Should believe what I read in the Bible.
Following Wednesday. Laptop forgotten. Now mourning the loss of a friend. Understood the importance of the casual remark I’d made previously. Learnt the value and fleeting nature of life. Learnt the selfishness involved with my own preoccupation. Some people have to deal with this kind of death on an almost weekly basis, and I’m distraught about a girl I should’ve treated better.
Prayer meeting, youth meeting, Sunday. Dealt with a lot. Learnt how people align themselves in such unexplainable ways. Life is a minefield. We gather closely together through love, even though that proximity puts us directly in range of an emotional explosion if even one is lost. Tempted to walk from the minefield. To find space and safety. God reminded me that love is worth the risk, as is the potential damage and pain that can be caused. I would rather position myself in the minefield of close friendships than in the safety of solitude.
Albania. Incredible opportunities. Radio interviews, Posters and leaflets with our pictures on, concerts and conference. Worshipping with a new generation in an emerging nation. Learnt that Romans 8:28 isn’t just a comfort verse. The team were phenomenal. There was a new maturity, a new focus on the team. The week before was a stark reminder of the importance of salvation. Learnt that Ethos has reached the point of realising potential and members are realising that they are in fact realising it after all. Got that?
Funeral. Best worst time ever. Bittersweet. Desperately heart-wrenching, deeply depressing – yet, at same time, it was the most uplifting of funerals. Amazing turn out, heart pulled back into place and warmed a little by the effort, love and great lengths involved to make the best of an awful day. Learnt that to leave this earth having made a similar impact to Angharad Clague would be a privilege.
Chicago. Eye-opener. Awe-inspiring church building. Exceptional speakers. Blindsided by the level of excellence that Willow Creek operate at. Unshakable feeling in the pit of my stomach as I envision Kerith Community Church and the future that lays before it. Learnt that we are doing brilliantly, but we can still do better. We can always do better. Fantastic host family. Have never been made to feel so at home by a host-family before. Learnt that the ukulele is actually pretty cool! Did not anticipate a series of perfect evenings and an unforgettable Saturday to accompany a life-changing conference. Learnt that moving away, whilst intimidating, would not be so out of the question. Learnt that servant hearts really do transcend cultural subtleties – also learnt that Americans don’t say “half-six”, “quarter-to-four” etc. What’s up with that?!
It’s been an incredible month. To summarise, I realised that my position in this world is neither set, stable, or sufficient. There is so much more to do, so much more to see and so much more to learn. In relation to some, I am a big fish – whilst to others, I am too small to be worthy of being called a fish…maybe a ‘cell’ would be more appropriate. I have learnt the value of friendship both at home and internationally.
I have learnt that being a Christian isn’t easy. But it is exciting. The most exciting, stressful and rewarding years of my life have been the last two. Two years and 5 days to be exact. I have realised that whilst pain is unavoidable, so is the unshakable realisation of God’s love in my life.
Bring it on.