So throughout different periods of your life you have different friends. Gradually, as you go through time, some fade away, some you keep in better contact with, some it doesn’t matter whether you only see them every couple of years – you’re still friends. Its just the way it goes. But its still odd. All my uni friends are gradually dispersing throughout the country – I can no longer go back to Swansea and see everyone from uni, because many of them are scattered around the country. Some are still there, and its great to be able to see them. But everything just takes so much more organising now. And although I’m making some good friends and I have Mr B in my New Home, which is great, I still like seeing my uni friends. As well as spend time with my new friends. No matter who I’m spending time with, I wish I could see more of someone! I know, its a balance. And part of it is needing more patience when there are long gaps between seeing people. But given that every day I don’t see Mr B, I miss him lots – lots more than other friends, then I tend to give him priority. And then I miss my uni friends. I know, I’m being silly. I saw a lot of uni friends at the weekend, so I can’t complain. I think I just hope that we don’t grow too distance. Facebook has recently taught me that a friend from year 7 / 8 in school got married a few weeks ago. I’d hate to find out over facebook that a close uni friend had got married in 5 years time.
Much of last week was spent preparing for two things – my first years appraisal and the first service that I led at my church on Sunday night. My appraisal was done at 3am on Thursday, and it all went fine. I came away from it with a list of aims for the next year, and slightly more confidence that I was mostly heading in the right direction. And as I said to my team leader – ‘I passed!’ He laughed at me, explaining that you can’t really pass or fail an appraisal… but it felt like I’d passed!
The second thing wasn’t really a pass or fail thing either. In my alternative worship community, anyone can lead worship – you just have to say ‘I want to lead worship’ and you get put on the rota. Once on the rota, you are paired up with someone else, and you organise the service between you. Our first one was in August, but I was away, and she offered to lead it by herself. So this time when she was away, I said I’d do it by myself. I’ve done a reasonable amount of alternative-ish worship planning, but in my Swansea / SCM life – never in my New Home. Except for the Greenbelt service, which was completely different because it was done in a big group and was a completely different service than I would ever do on my own. So, although I don’t have to go through any of the long training that Folkie has to do to preach, it felt like I was being tested, judged, critiqued. Maybe it was just my nerves speaking. But it did feel like I had to prove to everyone that I could do it.
These services rarely fit any church year, the themes generally come from where ever the individual leader is in their spiritual journey, and they find a creative way to share worship, with essentially whatever they like. It just so happened that my service sorted fitted with the conventional church year (you can tell I’m a Methodist at heart, can’t you?!). It was a kinda alt worship harvest. I arranged the printing of about 90 photos of nature – mountain and coastal views, close ups of flowers, mushrooms, wildlife, etc. And I hung these around everyones heads on string, using pegs. At the front there was also a table display of actual natural things – allotment produce, shells, logs, a plant, a framed photo of Three Cliffs (thanks guys!) and a few Moroccan stones. I was pleasantly surprised how impressive the scene looked after setting it up – you can never quite tell when its all been in your head! The service itself was mostly mediative, using the photos, the natural things and creation perspectives and readings which I had scattered around.
It was difficult to tell during the service how it had gone – I did minimal participating in it, as I had to think about the music and what was happening next. But afterwards I got numerous positive comments. The most touching ones had to be the little old lady, who said that it moved her more than most of our services do; and the guy who organises the rota who said he was really impressed with my readings and vocal projection. Which surprised me, as I did not consider this as a strong point of mine. And he writes amazing meditations! I didn’t mention which bits I’d pinched from resources… but I know that at least half of what he was referring to, I’d written myself. Anyway, I somehow managed to impress him enough to get myself onto the rota for monthly medium sized services, which should be commencing shortly. Hmm, this is the trouble – you do well, impress everyone and you get asked to do more! I should have made an effort to mess it up! 😉 Mr B couldn’t understand why everyone was so surprised I’d done a good job, but I think he’s a bit biased.
I was cycling home from work this morning after working all night, and as I was cycling down a bike lane I spotted a pedestrian on the side of the road, looking as if she was about to cross the road but without checking the way I was coming. The road was a one way road for cars and a two way road for bikes, and the first thing she was stepping into was the bike lane. I rang my bell and started to brake, but it was too late – she walked straight into me. Knocked me clean off my bike, into where the cars would soon be driving. My right elbow, right leg and head all made contact with the ground, although luckily I was wearing a helmet so my head remained undamaged. I quickly got up, worried about the approaching cars, only to receive the blunt blame for this accident from the seemingly uninjured pedestrian. She claimed I was on red. No – the cars coming the other way are on red. I am a bike. And that set of traffic lights had a little green bike picture on it. That means bikes can go. I wasn’t that rude to her face though… I said I was sorry, but that I did ring my bell and I was on green. She handed me my front brake handle that was lying on the ground and stormed off, without any apology or checking that I wasn’t significantly injured.
I got myself onto the pavement and inspected my injuries. Nothing too bad, just a stinging graze on my elbow and the beginnings of what I think will be a massive bruise on my leg. I was pretty shaken up though – I did let a couple of tears fall down my face as the shock and tiredness from the night hit. I thought I was going to have to walk my bike home, which would take at least half an hour, but I wanted my bed so much that I cycled home (slowly) without a front brake. Luckily I didn’t have to go down any big hills.
My work has its good days and bad days. My patient is pretty much all I think about for 12 hours at a time when I’m in work. And no matter whether they are improving or detoriating, it is incredibly difficult to STOP thinking about them at the end of the 12 hours.
I’ve not had the best weekend in work, but it could have been worse. Saturday was especially bad. At the end of it, I knew I needed to let off the steam from the day, but then also let go, forget about it all, and get some sleep before I returned again at 7am the following morning. Thankfully, although my housemates weren’t in, Mr B allowed me to rant at him for 10 timed minutes, and then changed the subject and made me laugh. And Roo also did a pretty good job of relaxing me over the phone before bed. But generally, letting go at the end of work is something I’ve recently realised I struggle with. If I’m with Mr B, he’ll tell me off if I talk about work too much, which helps because I don’t realise I’m doing it a lot of the time. But if I’m with friends that I wouldn’t talk to work about, or on my own, then it can often just spin around in my head. Thinking over everything I’ve done, working out what I did wrong / right, and thinking about how I can improve. Which is fine to a degree… but at some point I need to STOP thinking about it. Let go. I think I need a tact to doing this, without necessarily relying on others. Any ideas?