“………and now the final curtain” says the well known line sung by Frank Sinatra. In many ways it feels the same as I draw to an end my latest sabbatical: in one hour and eight minutes to be precise.
No doubt as I return to work tomorrow many will ask how it’s gone, have I enjoyed myself, am I refreshed and so on, but to be honest I’m really not sure. This has been my third sabbatical and probably the hardest one of them all for a variety of reasons. I’m still reflecting on all that’s happened, with memories that are both good and bad.
Memories of spending time in Orkney hospital, where the care was terrific, but not where I expected to spend part of my holidays…………..
Memories of a wonderful holiday nevertheless……….
Orkney is certainly a place we’ll return to.
Memories of the worry Alison had while I was in one hospital, her Mum in another and my brother in a third. It took it out of her, but thankfully all are well now.
Memories of the disappointment that out of 250 questionnaires despatched electronically and personally only 25 came back, but the joy of Oldham where 10 were returned and the opportunity I got to visit and interview folk.
Memories of a wonderful day out at the Harry Potter tour, but the disappointment that we didn’t get our London tour but that will come later in the year.
Memories of simply spending time doing Wasjigs, and the absolute joy of having time to read; especially having time to read the Celtic saints (especially the Northern Saints) and the knowledge that my online study course in Celtic Christian Spirituality still has 4 months to run. Spending time on a pilgrimage of the Northern Saints returned me to my roots in Durham and Northumberland: what a special time that was.
Memories of spending time visiting Dad and my brother, and having Dad visiting .
The garden looks great now !
The sad and difficult realisation in these last few days that my health difficulties are going to prevent me going to Romania this year to see the villagers I love so much; I just can’t risk being poorly over there.
Many memories but perhaps two or three special highlights: firstly, conducting the wedding of a very special couple, Ellie Wood and Andy Morris who I love dearly,
Secondly, greeting the arrival of the daughter of Ellie’s sister, Julia. Julia and Joe, who I also love so much, are now the parents of a gorgeous little girl, Caitlyn and I’m so proud of them all.
Finally, and there’s an enormous pride here, the highlight of my time has been the opportunity to spend time with my family, Alison, Rebecca, Michelle, Vikki and Mark and to rejoice in the news that in November Vikki and Mark will give Alison and I our first grandchild. YAY!
Still reflecting on it all and still unsure of what to make of it, BUT I give thanks 1) for the Methodist people who gave me this great gift. I pray my re-telling of it will bless them and open them more to Gods great work. 2) the knowledge that I’m returning to them, to love and warmth. That is so reassuring.
THANK-YOU ALL FOR YOUR LOVE AND PRAYERS
(p.s. Only another 7 years till the next one !)