Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sizzling September!

Well, not really, although the first weekend was as hot as midsummer, without a cloud in the sky. We whizzed off to Jersey for a couple of nights: our enormous tent, camping equipment - making sure we had REALLY comfy bedding, new beach chairs and dog all in our tiny Micra. Room to spare, too. Leaving picturesque St Peter Port behind, with its higgledepiggledy cluster of buildings which look like a pile of pastel-coloured liquorice sweets climbing up from sea,gives the feeling of embarking on a cruise. The calm crossing was a bonus. A quiet, almost empty campsite looking over to France; slow walks through lanes, exploring the architecture and history of our sister island; and a visit to old friends, made for a relaxing start to a hectic month. Sitting in Alan and Clare's garden over afternoon tea, catching up on how God has been working in our lives, was a real joy.

Then it was back into work, with a vengeance. We both had heavy schedules, fitting in meals with friends round long days and the odd evening commitment at school. The beginning of the school year is always a testing time: not just because we are all, children and teachers alike, reeling from the effect of full-time learning after full-time holiday, but also because there really is so much that needs to be put into place to establish the curriculum. Lots of planning, admin and creating of new displays.

Yet there was still time to fit in a monthly breakfast - which we ate sitting outside in warm sunshine at 9 in the morning in mid-September. So wonderful to catch up again - it had only been a month since our last meeting, but we had holidays, festivals and family celebrations to catch up on. Then there was another church get together with Annie Hughes, New Wine leader from Oxfordshire, who led us through Esther. 130 women from churches across the island took a day out of busy lives to spend time worshipping and listening to God - and, even, receive prayer: what a privilege.

The month finished with a four night sermon series on the book of Revelation - so informative and inspiring. A heavy subject eased by David Bracewell's entertaining style of delivery. Don't think I've ever managed to grasp the overview before.

Yet I am listening to the last in the series as I write, because I missed the last one: an emergency, mid-week trip to Manchester to see my mother, who is failing fast. My dear friend Ann met me at the airport and took me to see her: very frail now, she opened her eyes once or twice but didn’t even seem to register that I was there, let alone recognise me. I went back the next day and spent about three hours in her room, praying and smiling at her when she opened her eyes. I think she almost recognised me a couple of times – once, she smiled, pointed to herself and then to me, which I think was the same as when Cat and I saw her in August and she said, no longer recognising me by name even then: ‘You look like me’, and another time she spoke (most of the time I couldn’t understand what she was saying at all) and then, I THINK, said ‘you’re a special girl’!!

She seemed quite content and peaceful, is well looked after, and I did feel as if I’d done everything I could by the time I left. And my stay with Ann was an unexpected bonus, as we stayed up late and shared the deepest thoughts and feelings of our hearts. A friendship beyond words.
September. Busy. Joys. Sorrows. Family. Friendship.

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