Wednesday, March 28, 2012

28th March 2012

Yes, I made it to the beach today. So, after a leisurely stroll for an hour, this is where I settled down to think and read… yes Kindles are perfect for the beach, you can believe the marketing blurb! I’m not sure if my camera captured the light properly, it was amazing, almost otherworldly, with a slight haze filtering the clear blue sky, and not a chance of seeing the French cliffs today. I was actually quite close to where we scattered Jane’s ashes, though being honest I wasn’t able to tune into that at all. Jane is living a very full life in heaven and not at all connected with historical events on Deal beach. Maybe at some point in the future I’ll need to visit this place to stir up memories in honour of my wife but not this afternoon. My heart is still bursting with love for her and I’ll carry that around for the rest of my life, I don’t need to go anywhere special. But the pain of loss is easing and I’m beginning to think I’ll be able to move on. When my season of grief is concluded I’m asking the Lord to send his Holy Spirit to place a seal upon my heart. A bit like a Royal Seal, where my love of Jane and the pain of loss is locked away, only to be let out with special approval. A sort of God moment. Maybe there’ll be many of them, maybe they’ll be few and far between, but whatever, I cannot live the rest of my life like this. I will let go and begin to function more normally again very soon.

Of course I’ve been wondering if I’d get to meet someone after the thoughts I had before travelling. Yesterday I spoke to no-one, today every person I passed refused to catch my eye and they all looked a bit miserable anyway. I’m used to National Trust visitors smiling and chatting at the slightest excuse. So as I returned to my motorhome I glanced at a very similar vehicle parked right in front of my mine. And noticed a fish badge in the window. It belonged to an older guy with hair as long as mine, complete with elastic tie – there’s a thought – anyway, he was sitting outside with coffee and iPod to isolate from contact. Not good enough I decided, ‘Hi, what’s the badge for’ I asked ‘are you a Christian or do you just like fish?’ An hour and a half later we’d had the friendliest of conversations about any number of people that we both knew quite well, particularly a whole group of church leaders. One of the women in his church had even sung with me in a worship band back in Derby. He’d also lost his wife with cancer and was travelling alone, though he chose to ‘wild-camp’ by the side of the road quite regularly. Far too noisy for me.

But our conversation did wander into all manner of interesting areas. Including a consideration of how the church can help the socially disadvantaged. Yes, the average church has seats filled with relatively affluent families. Maybe a scattering of professionals and a whole bunch of ‘dinkies’… double income no kids couples. My new friend enjoyed visiting a drop-in centre supporting alcoholics, drug addicts and the like, but struggled to see how these so needy people could ever feel comfortable in most church meetings. It was a long conversation…

1 John 3:17 ‘Suppose someone sees a brother or sister in need and is able to help them. If he doesn't take pity on them, how can the love of God be in him?’ (NIRV)

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