Just between you and me, things are feeling quite weird here. Weird as in unsettled, good in a way, but all a bit too 'liminal'. I feel like I have spent more time on the threshold of other things, without ever really arriving this past few weeks than ever before. It feels like a foot-tapping kind of restlessness, a not knowing, a waiting but not knowing for what I am waiting, kind of waiting...
We are inbetween lots of things and settling on the present is challenged when you're being asked to constantly make decisions about the future.
The children are leaving one school, visiting the next one for half a day, whilst I am meeting the Head of the school they will probably go to in a year's time.
We are selling one house to rent another, whilst asking questions about the next one where we will live for three to four years.
It all kind of goes against how I deal with things. Since God burst into my life eight years ago, as I experienced a kind of spiritual renewal (words don't work here), I have been slowly giving up my tendency to plan and organise the future since becoming more open to this God who can change the best laid plans of men and women and 'mouses'.
The last two weeks has also given me cause to reflect on how this sense of 'unfinishedness' is a condition of the vocation. There is a real contrast between planning worship, open to an extent, to allow for God to meet with people however he plans, but still shaped, orchestrated... and living alongside the marginalised. In the work that I have been doing, which strangely is not best described by the word 'work', but I am having trouble settling on a word that captures it, there is never any completion, only trust and prayer and waiting and the agony of your own inadequacy.
I can only pray that the man with the agonising 24 hours ahead of him will make it through. I imagine all sorts of things I could have done after the encounter. I could have texted him encouragement on the hour, every hour for the next 24 but I couldn't and shouldn't, I could have offered to stay with him and pour all the temptation down the sink each time he reached for it, but no, this is not for me to do. So there is only trust and hope and prayer.
I imagine all sorts of rosy-coloured endings to situations I have been in, with the girl I was so worried about turning up to church and the community embracing her and everything beginning to change for her.
I dare to pray for healing and transformation and sudden illumination, I know it can happen but I also want to pray for people to be given strength to sustain, patience to sit it out, forbearance to just carry on...it could all take years. So there is a struggle here too. How bold should I be? And the community pray that I forget, move on, let it go and I will get better at this but at the same time, I do not want to get better at this...
...so I am beginning to realise the cost. And God is good because for me this realisation has come slowly. At first it all seemed like such an awesome adventure and it was all such a blessing and all that theological education felt like such a privilege but the learning and the growing and the pruning and the shaping of these more recent days has all felt rather more brutal.