Friday, 27 May 2016

Suitcase Sojourner

It has been a while since I posted. Sorry about that!

Things have been somewhat hectic with Jane’s induction into Campsie Parish Church, our very prolonged, complicated and difficult move, and my new job as an Interim Minister.

I cannot pretend that the various phases of leaving, farewells, removals and new starts was anything other than extremely stressful! With two separate Manses (more below!) and two adult children who were unsure what they were doing (seem still a bit unsure to me!) it was all very trying indeed.

However, I am very much enjoying my new role as Interim Minister for Central region with the job of helping a congregation through a time of transition often (but not always) after a time of particular challenge or difficulty for them.

My first placement is in rural Perthshire and I am very much enjoying a) the experience of working in the kind of community that I have not previously been involved with and b) getting to know and minister alongside the folks of the congregation.

Of course, there is a lot of adjustment involved in all of this, and I have not found every aspect of that adjustment easy.

And especially challenging has been the difficulty of working out how to live in two places! I have moved in with Jane to her Manse in Campsie (as you would expect!) and count that as home, but I am also living part of the time in the Manse of my placement Parish and trying to make that feel like home from home… and, truth be told, it does.

However, the problems arise from the moving from one to the other. The initial patterns we established are already under review as it has meant a great deal of travelling back and forth. So the week is undergoing a change to allow me to minimise travel and maximise productive work time and quality down time.

We’ll see….

Meanwhile I find myself still living out of a suitcase much of the time. I do have clothes and so forth in both places, but sometimes what I want or need is in the house I am not in, and other times I forget to take the right things from one home to another, or forget to put on a washing or forget where I am on any given day or what I am doing and what implications that may have for what I need by way of clothes… and so on!

But we will get there… I hope!

Meanwhile, that feeling of being a sojourner can have a very positive effect; the journeys back and forth allow me time to engage/disengage and can be very therapeutic; I have still to establish new patterns of spiritual devotion that suit the new lifestyle;, but meantime I am learning much about praying in the car(!); and the words of Jesus, ‘ foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’ seem to have a resonance, even though in fact I have two places to lay my head (although it takes me a while on any given morning to work out which place I am in!). And certainly the author to the Hebrews had it right when he said ‘here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city which is to come’.