Monthly Archives: December 2007

Moving on

I’m going to apologise in advance for the vagueness of this post. Readers who know me v.well may be able to figure it out, but don’t worry about it if you can’t!

Moving on with life is a strange thing. You are, to a certain extent, in control of your life. You can chose how much time you give to different aspects of your time outside of work. You can chose how to spend your free time. Which activities you devote time and energy to. Its just odd when you can anticipate Thing A fading out of your life within X amount of time, and Thing B taking its place. And when you’re in the beginning of that transition period, and there are small, day to day, decisions to be made, which you can see impacts the bigger picture and reflects how quickly this transition will occur.

At the moment I still want to be involved with Thing A, but I can imagine it becoming a much smaller part of my life within a few years. And I know that I will miss it. But on the other hand, I am looking forward to developing and moving onto Thing B. But I don’t want the transition to happen too quickly. So I feel very conscious of this when making these small decisions about how to devote my time. I want to ideally be able to participate in both Things at the same time for a period of time, but I know that I will be stupidly busy if I do that. So I need to try to find a balance which suits me now. Its just difficult.

Working Christmas

This year was the first, of many, I expect, that I worked Christmas. I worked a 12.5 hour shift on both Christmas eve and Christmas day. And that obviously meant that this Christmas has been very different to any previously. Different. Strange. But special in its own way.

It was of course without early morning present opening, church, carols and an enjoyable afternoon / dinner with family members, as I’ve been used to. As I walked to work at 6.45am, I rang home and received a commentary of the present opening between my parents and sister. In work there was generally a jolly spirit around, with staff members wearing santa hats, tinsel and Rudolf antlers. Each of the beds had been decorated with tinsel, ball-balls and other Christmas decorations. And at the end of each of the beds were presents for each of the children from the hospital. Each of the children got another present half way through the morning when Father Christmas arrived.

The kitchen staff cooked a big Christmas dinner for all of the staff, parents and siblings in the hospital. It was all on a trolley for people to help themselves to, within our department. When I had my break and was enjoying the dinner, there were 3 very high children in the room enjoying their dinner with their family too. The youngest child had received a camera for Christmas and insisted on taking photos of *every* staff member who walked in the room! The staff, including the consultant, enjoyed playing along with this game.

The cutest child had to be the 2 year old boy, whose parents had bought all of his stocking to the hospital, whilst they visited his brother. He spent the entire day sat in the middle of the department, opening one present at a time, playing with it for a while, before his parents would take it away and give him another present.

Celebrating Christmas day with colleagues and practical strangers was obviously odd. But no matter how odd it was for me, it had to be worst for the parents and families. Having a child in hospital is never nice, but on Christmas day… One of the children I was looking after was from a long way away. His family were miles and miles away from where they had planned to be for Christmas. All without much warning or preparation. Christmas in January seemed the next best alternative. But still, its not quite the same.

The santa hats, tinsel and Father Christmas on Christmas day were jolly but essential attempts to keep spirits high for everyone.

I miss Christmas :(

Yes, I know, I’m not really missing Christmas. I know its happening – I’ve got my advent calender up, I’ve written and given out half of my cards, and I’ve bought most of my presents. But I’m working so much before Christmas, so that I can have some time off after Christmas, that I’m missing out on a lot of pre-Christmas stuff. I haven’t sung a single carol yet this year. My first carol this year will be sung the Sunday before Christmas. (first draft of this thought it wasn’t until after Christmas, when I remembered that I do actually have next Sunday off). And yes, I do get some Christmas in work – last night when it was quiet the rest of the decorations went up on the unit, and on Christmas day apparently all the staff and parents/families sits down and has a BIG meal together. Which will be different, and I’m sure special in its own way. But it doesn’t make up for the fact that I’m missing out on a lot of Christmas church stuff. My church in Swansea is tonight having its Carols by Candlelight, which I have sung in and helped prepare in previous years. One of my new churches here is also having a special pre-Christmas service tonight, and but I’m working a nights. I suppose its just one of those things that comes with the job I have. Its just that knowing that, doesn’t make me miss it any less.

Changes

Please note the change in blog title… hope you don’t get too confused. I had to change the subtitle bit because that was lying (it said I was a student). So I decided to change the title to ERG whilst I was about it – it still says its me, but it doesn’t emphasise the specific words, which I’d already decided were a little out dated. Comments welcome.

A job or a calling?

“Is your work a job or a calling?” asks a Grandmother of a patient I was looking after yesterday. It threw me slightly – I wasn’t expecting it, its not a question I’ve ever been asked directly before and I wasn’t sure if she meant in the religious sense or not. I paused as I considered this question. She answered the question for me with ‘well obviously today its a job!’ I smiled at this (she’d watched me attempt to multi-task to the limit at points during the day and had made comments such as “and in your sixth pair of hands…”) but corrected her. I do believe my work is a calling.

There is a quote in my quote book which a friend sent me: “If God is offering us His liberating rest and peace, why do we insist on a treadmill existence?”, Source Unknown. My life at the moment seems incredibly busy – a treadmill existence almost. I always seem to be in work doing 12 hour shifts, and when I am off I’m often travelling around to see friends or doing SCM stuff. Most of what I am doing – work and SCM stuff, I feel is what God wants me to be doing. But consequently I feel that I have less time to pray and read the bible. Whenever I’m not working I try to make it along to my local Methodist church, and I have also been attending an alternative worship community which meets on a Sunday evening. I find the alternative worship an important part of my spiritual needs at the moment – half an hour to just be with Him, concentrating on nothing else, and just having that space to lie on the floor and reflect. I wish I had more time to commit to Him, within my daily routine. It just seems silly that I’m so busy doing stuff that I feel He wants me to do, that I don’t have enough time to devote to Him. I could probably make time – would either mean less sleep and/or less ‘relaxing online time’. Hmm…

Small World

Its the SCM theme for the year, so as a member of General Council its a fairly common phase in my life at the moment. But recently I keep discovering remembering how small this world is! Take last night as an example. I went to a church community, bring and share meal held at someones house. I was the first to arrive (was miles from my house so I allowed ‘getting lost time’ which I impressively didn’t need!), but after chatting with the host for a few minutes, another person arrived. He turned out to be the vicar of a local church and within 10 minutes of chatting we’d discovered:
* we were born in the same maternity unit in Swansea
* he had connections with the secondary school I went to in Manchester
* he also had close connections with a church that many of my friends at school went to
* he used to live fairly near to my uni house in Swansea
* he used to be the vicar of a church with close ecumenical links to Sketty Methodist, so knew it well (but a fairly long time ago)
* and now we’re involved with the same church community in Bristol.

Now I know, and accept as part of life, that one or two connections with a stranger is perfectly common and normal. But six in three different cities at varying points in our life?!?! And to top it off, after we’d discovered this the third person arrived who said as soon as he released our topic of conversation, ‘oh tell me about it – her dad taught me at uni 20 odd years ago’. Small world, huh?

Internet Ethics

I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day, and as we were talking she was answering word questions on facebook and consequently donating rice for the developing world! I have since received and accepted an invitation for the same program and I had a go this afternoon. Most of the questions are fairly easy, so it is quite easy to build up grains of rice. But still, something about it doesn’t quite sit right with me. It seems odd to be sat at my laptop, playing games and consequently winning rice for people with practically nothing! I think it is just the contrast of cultures which is particularly apparent when playing the game. The way that it is a ‘game’ for us, and real life for them.

Another recent internet dilemma for me was the creation of an amazon wishlist. I hadn’t created one previously because it seemed too cheeky to publish ‘I’d like this, and this and this, ooh and this please’. But recently I was on the amazon site, amending my recommendations list – telling it which CDs and books I owned from the ones it was recommending me. I was pretty impressed with its ability to produce a comprehensive list of CDs and books that I would like – it was also quite bad because I discovered several good looking CDs I didn’t know existed! Thats good internet marketing for you! And marketing that I’ve bought into. In the end I decided to create the wishlist because it makes sense for friends / family to be able to see what you don’t already own and would like. But that doesn’t mean I’m expecting to magically receive all the things I’ve added to it – all of them I can live without, they’d be nice but they’re not critical. I’m not going to link it from here, but if you’re interested it should be searchable with my full name on amazon.co.uk.