So here’s the thing – for the next few months I really want life to be – just normal.
Normal. Nothing extraordinary or special, just routine, ordinary and run of the mill.
Why? Because so far 2012 has been a rollercoaster and it’s time to get on the nice teacups-for-little-ones for a while rather than the thundering rush of blood to the head Pepsi Max Big One or whatever that big thing at Blackpool Pleasure Beach is called.
This is my year up til now – I don’t begrudge or bemoan a minute of it but it’s been incredibly full and demanding; my Gran passed away in February after 3 weeks in hospital, a challenging time plus having to deal with organising the funeral, sorting out the will and a house clearance.
Niall and I got engaged. This was a lovely thing and for six months we absolutely loved getting into organising our wedding – the food, the service, the transport, the invitations, the ice cream van (!) – all of it was a joy, so many people were generous and gave help in different ways, and on July 28th we couldn’t have had a better day.
The shoes……you have to see the shoes…
Bruges provided the setting for the honeymoon, and it was good to slow down for a bit.
Ah yes, the sabbatical. Three months paid leave from work is a wonderful gift – and the studying part included a retreat at Hilfield, a course in Durham (the excellent MediaLit12 run by CODEC) and a placement with the Rev Hayley Matthews, chaplain to MediaCityUK in Salford Quays (see previous blog posts).
And then moving all of Niall’s stuff into the manse, and then a ‘final fling’ last week of sabbatical which took in Greenbelt Festival, Birmingham, Legoland and the magnificent Paralympics….
What an amazing time….a restful, refreshing and enriching time but also a challenging, draining and emotional time – pretty much like a rollercoaster.
So for now I want to celebrate being normal. Getting used to being back at work again, that we can finally live in the same manse and get used to each other’s ways and idiosyncracies; the yearly rush of September, catching up with news from people, learning about new projects and ideas.
Methodist ministers tend to dread September, as it is chock full with meetings, Synod and circuit requirements, planning ahead, balancing the diary and squeezing in just one more pastoral visit.
But this is normal for me in September, and I’m embracing it – this is normal, this is good, there is a need for normal right now, and we need to be normal together and with others so that we can learn the routine together and take a breath and look again at the changing terrain around us.
Normal is often equated with boring. It isn’t. Normal is the day-to-day routine which holds your relationships, work life, home life and God life together.It’s like life glue. It isnt the mountain top experience, but we can’t stay on the mountain top forever. Sometimes we need the exhiliration of new ideas and fantastic visions, other times we just need to go to a meeting, pray a bit, sit on the sofa with a mug of tea and arrange a pastoral visit for tomorrow.
I wouldn’t want to get stuck in normal forever – in a sense God calls us out of the normal to do extraordinary things – but for now, normal is necessary. Normal is the new rock n roll.
Ps. Told you the shoes were great 😉