On the move...and staying put.
Our year seems to have centred on the word HOME – in various guises. After settling on staying in Guernsey last year, we’ve been busy... settling in. Some decorating, some sorting, not enough decluttering, quite a lot of gardening; more DIY – mostly Richard; making Morningstar into our hereforeverhome.
And yet... ‘Home is where the heart is.’ Our hearts are not only in Guernsey but also very much with family and friends scattered around the world. We can’t be in two places at once, so we have relished opportunities to reconnect, whether locally with good friends, having friends and family to stay, or internationally: Skyping with Cat and Andy, Jonny and Adele and extended family, including Cat and Jonny’s ‘parents-in-law’; visits from Tanzania, visits to Adele’s parents in Lincoln, dear friends in Shrewsbury and Lancashire...
School has also been an extension of home, though becoming, for Angie, less so: she continues to enjoy the children and their parents, but there have been many, many changes this year, not least the departure of a much-loved headteacher.
...and, of course, much time – three months total, in fact – has been spent in the motorhome visiting France: Brittany in February, the Loire valley at Easter, exploring the South of France in the summer. #justa2hourferryride. The Dogkennel, as our vehicle is known because Pickle would spend all her time in there if she could, hosted quite a few friends: lunch picnics down at the beach over New Year; groups of family friends camping with us in France; a gathering of 9 of us for supper just before we all caught the ferry back home. It has been wonderful to have the flexibility and opportunity which the motorhome gives us to meet up with so many friends. While away, we have been able to have guests to stay in our house, through AirBnb. Preparing the house certainly ensures that it has an extremely thorough spring clean!
And I reflect: Jesus grew up in a home but, as an adult, had no home to call his own. When he was born, it was among strangers; his early years were spent as a refugee in Egypt. Cat and Andy are living their lives helping refugees and homeless people in Iraq, working with Medair. (Andy works to provide clean water and sanitation; Cat runs the logistics, finances and human resources for the medical teams. Their jobs are hugely demanding: we are in awe of the equanimity with which they face daily challenges.) Adele and Jonny are teaching in an independent school in Arusha, Tanzania: Jonny is loving being back in Africa, especially as they live near our long-time friends Byron and Lisa. In their free time, they volunteer to help train teachers in poorer schools, so that the poorest children can receive a better education. We are grateful for their work.
So, as we look back on this year, as I think about the children’s lives we have all, in our various ways, touched: I think of the future, and what 2018 might bring. What difference will we make this year? For all our efforts are nothing compared to the Gift of Jesus that we remember particularly at Christmas. Grateful for His gift, grateful for His grace.