December is almost here and France looms somewhere in the not so distant future. Bittersweet is the word for this time. As I prepare to leave Sheffield for the first significant period in 5 years I am falling in love with it in a new way.
My community who surround me so completely will be sorely missed. Watching the guys next door having a ridiculous Laser tag tournament in the street from my open window as I began to pack my things reminded me that leaving here is not going to be easy. I am keenly aware that life rarely stands still. While I’m gone there will be marriages begun and babies born, new friendships and plans for the future made, and stepping out of the centre of these things leaves me in some way vulnerable.
The nursery where I’ve been working this year is a perfect microcosm of this, the children change so fast, growing and learning at an astounding rate. Today in the playground as the three year olds were chalking on the ground, the colours seemed everywhere, iridescent in the sunshine. The air was full of the newness of these children, their excitement and their many many questions.
As I look back as this time of my life as I step away into 5 months in the Alps and who knows what in the future, I am deeply aware of how blessed I have been by Sheffield. How I have grown here and learned so many things. How I have been loved and honoured in both my weakness and my strength. I have learned how to expect more from life, to face hard situations with grace and courage. To hold on to some things lightly and others with the tenacity of a bull terrier, and above all to love with the depth of heart that has been shown to me by God and by those around me.
Yes I will miss it with every bit of me, this exciting, topsy turvey, childlike life I have fashioned here. Yet I know that its time to go! I am moving towards some great unknown and this thrills me, God has opened up doors and I’ve made the choice to step through them, knowing the cost but also knowing the possibilities. I hope that I’ll end up back in Sheffield but more than this stability I want the heart knowledge that God is my home and that is enough.
my friend Matt gave me this poem over the weekend which sums up better than I can..
“Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the waters of life,
having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity,
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas,
where storms will show your mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back the horizon of our hopes,
and to push us into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ. ” Francis Drake