Saturday, June 10, 2006

There and Back Again

It is difficult to sum up two weeks of what I wasn't expecting, but I'll give it a go.

The first thing to say is my thanks for all the prayers, sympathy, support and encouragement I have received from folk via email, text and conversation; they really have meant a lot and have been very helpful, so again, thank you.

The funeral was my first for a very close family member. It was very sad as we will all miss my grandfather but it was also a time of real encouragement. The minister from my Grandfathers church preached a great sermon as to the hope for eternity that Christians have and did so in such as way as to challenge those there who were not Christians and encourage those who were Christians. Afterward all who attended were invited on to a nearby hotel. It was great to be able to meet with family and folk who knew my Grandfather and remember and celebrate his life. The quote for the day goes to my oldest (7 years old) niece: "It's a shame we couldn't have had this party two weeks ago, then Granddad George could have come. He'd have really enjoyed it". None of us were sure what to say in reply but it seemed an appropriate way to sum up the day.

Then followed 10 days with friends and family around the country. It was really great to have the opportunity to catch up with a few folk. It also brought the additional reassurance that relationships are workable over very long distance. Though much had changed in many ways it was like I had never been away. Hooray for video conferencing, email, MSN and Skype! But an even bigger hooray for the people involved in using them with me!

I also learnt a few lessons along the way, some of which I had learnt before but had been quick to forget. The first was that (like I said back when I left for the first time) it is not really possible to communicate to people how much you appreciate their friendship, which frustrated me at first but thankfully I remembered that this is just how it is. But there is now the additional factor of knowing that (at least in the short term) thought relationships change they can still remain strong even though I do not see people anywhere near as regularly as I once did. Which is both reassuring and encouraging!

I mentioned in my last blog entry how much I love my job. Part of that has been a realisation that I can contribute to things here, Not that I have it all figured out or think more of myself than I should, but it has been great to be able to be involved in speaking at the Wellington groups and be involved in training leaders here in Wellington which are areas that I'd generally hung back from during my time with UCCF. But it has disturbed me how easy it is for confidence to morph into overconfidence and then arrogance and that is something within me that I become more aware of whilst back home and I will have to watch out for as it is a dangerous thing.

Very quickly I had been there and it was time to come back again. It was sad to leave again but no way near as difficult as when I left in January. Not that I care in any way lass then when I left in January! But from the UK perspective I know that (as I have outlined above) it is okay. And from the perspective of New Zealand, as I outlined in my last blog post, it is where I belong for now.

So I am really thankful that God has in His grace has used a potentially difficult trip back home to give me a chance to catch up with folk back home, to reassure me that it is possible to maintain meaningful relationships with family and friends back home, give me chance to reflect on the last few months, and generally know that New Zealand is where I am supposed to be for now.


Anonymous said...

It was lovely to see you James, and it will be great when you're back over at Christmas. It was good to kill with you again as well!

Cally says Moo!

Anonymous said...


It was jolly good to see you again old bean. You looked well, and like you were growing and going on well with it all. Do stay in touch. I must Skype you soon.


James Allaway said...

Just to clarify, the killing was in Age of Empires 3. And Tom, you are all nice on my blog but on Shudalls you said I had lost more hair!

Thanks guys, and all skyping or MSNing is always gladly received!