Friday, 20 April 2007

Bricking It

In two months, my contract will run out, and I’ll have the UCCF door closed behind me and bolted. At the moment I am trying hard to make sure that I can walk right into another one, but so far all I can see is wilderness.

Either way, it scares the living crap out of me.

Whatever happens to me on June the 18th will be something I’ve never done before. All my life I have either been a student, or someone who works with students. Each stage of my life has been a smooth transition from doing something I know, to doing something else I know from a different perspective. I can hardly imagine what it will be like to step off that treadmill to somewhere foreign.

I know that change has to happen, and I know that I don’t want to stay where I am, even if I had the choice to do so. Things are finishing where I am and it’s like trying to warm my hands on a fire that’s almost out. I know I need to get up and make a new one.

I know too, or at least have been reminded, that God is still there. I know he loves me and that he loves to bless me. That he knows me, knows what I love, what I'm good at, what I’m scared of, what my weaknesses are. He knows the right job for me, and he knows how to help me get it. There’s no rational reason why he would lead me to being a make-up artist, or historian or cricketer, or something else that I would hate and have no talent for. I know he’s not vindictive.

The thing that scares me is the truth that he does know what’s best for me better than I do, and that that sometimes means that it hurts. When I look back over my life, I can see why all the twists and turns have come about. I can see most of the time, what God was doing at each point, and why he did it. I can see where going his way saved me from disaster, and I can see where going mine dropped me right in it. I know that whatever he brings me will be what’s best. The Bible tells me so.

But my memory is not short enough to forget that learning those lessons was always painful. That being sanctified, being obedient, being disobedient, being pruned by the great keeper of the vine; that these things hurt.

I know it will hurt to say goodbye to my UCCF family – it’s hurting now!
I know it will hurt to change such well-worn routines, to leave behind esoteric words, mannerisms, intonations, uniforms, networks; all the ingrained things that come from being part of such a small and particular world as I have been a part of.
I know that the challenge of my sinfully putting my identity in my work and in my ‘status’ in having this job, will be a painful challenge. A disorientating challenge. An uncomfortably humbling challenge.
I know that my shyness and fear of entering a world where not everyone has known my name since before they met me, and the things I have done before will seem meaningless to them; I know that these things will erode my sense of identity even further.

It’s these things that I’m scared of, even if I’m led into the most OddBabbleshaped job I could dare to imagine. I know I need that challenge and I need the change. I just wish there was a quicker, less painful way to do it.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Philosophical Conundrum

So I was told that rats made good pets. I thought that I would get two girl ones, and call them Pam and Barbara. Then I bought a book about rats and discovered that they wee on you carpet all the time and need constant attention and supervision. Bye bye Pam and Barabara.
My conundrum is this: By calling into existence the concept of Barbara and Pam, were there from that moment, two ACTUAL rats, who would in the future be named thus? If so, when I decided not to buy them, did they cease to exist? Have I murdered two theoretical rodents? Or have there, since their conception, been two rats, who I WOULD have bought, but now that I haven't, they are just called, say, Sylvia and Prunella?
It tortures me so.

Monday, 2 April 2007


When I go on holiday, I like to lie in in the mornings for as long as possible, before eating something delicious and slowly consuming cooling alcohol in the warm shade, reading a book, watching the locals or discussing Interesting Things with my companion. These long days might be punctuated by visits to local markets to look at cheap tat, or various activities involving staring at foreign people, or long periods of sitting down. In the evenings I like to eat more (especially whatever the locals eat, as I like to try new food), then drink more, and then dance.

I also enjoy playing catch.

When Witsy goes on holiday, she likes to get up at a reasonable hour so that she can make the most of the time she has away. She likes to look at places of historical interest and visit museums. When eating in foreign countries she likes to find a place where she can eat a cheeseburger. She likes to plan her activity-filled days in advance.

She also enjoys playing catch.

Witsy and I are holiday buddies.

We play a lot of catch.

You would think that two such vacationally incompatible people would be an unwise Holiday Buddy partnership, but that is because you do not know the magic of the Witsy/Barney combo, or how inexplicably and endlessley satisfying the ancient game of catch can be (especially with the Hi-Bounce Pinky, pictured).
The secret, is that relational magic word - compromise. It is perfectly possible and pleasant, for me to sit and read contemplative contemporary fiction in the grounds of a castle, where Witsy is running around reading placards & feasting on historical facts.
After a quick round of catch, it is perfectly acceptable and enjoyable for Witsy to go and take photos from several angles of some ancient sewage works (or something), while I sit and sip a Bacardi, listening to music and watching people go by.When ski-ing, in between games of catch, there's nothing wrong with me gliding along green runs looking at the pretty trees, and then having a little sit down, while Witsy bombs backwards down black runs across mountains spanning three countries.
See? Compromise.