Saturday, 31 March 2007

the plague

I have fallen prey to the plague that John has been referring to. It started off as a relatively harmless sore throat which could not be eased by copious amounts of water and orange juice consumption. Then came the sneezing, which is fine. Next, the waking up throughout the night because my silly little body can't get itself around needing to breathe purely through my mouth, resulting in Apnoea.

Then, the breathing-like-a-walrus routine. I had not realised I had reached this stage until I was asked my my housemates at dinner if I was ok, as there were some slightly disconcerting breathing noises coming from my end of the table.

Perhaps what's most disappointing about this cold is the debilitation of my senses. I can't taste or smell anything. Then last night I burnt my tongue on a cup of hot chocolate, which might as well have been some warmed, diluted soil - I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to tell. This morning I have woken up with an incredibly husky voice which makes me sound like I've been on 40 a day for the last couple of decades. So now, I'm a cross between a walrus with a camel-like tongue and the voice of a smoker. Nice.

By the way, in case you were wondering about the photo I have included, it's of a cell tissue of a chimera plant. I was going to include a picture of normal, nose-blowing tissues, but when I googled 'tissues', and this came up I thought it was far more interesting. The name 'Chimera' orignates from 'Indo-European root', where Chimera is a mythical creature which is made up of the front parts of a lion, the middle parts of a goad, and the tail of a snake. I think I'll stick to my walrus-camel-like state.

In other news, last Friday saw the handing in of my beloved Dissertation, who, although I had grown fond of, needed to have some time away from me - we'd been seeing a little too much of each other to see things objectively. We've seen many happy and nearly tragic times together, including the memorable near-death experiences on two occasions. The first, when my ipod shuffle decided it had had enough of its existence in my pocket and cunningly decided to leap out of my pockey whilst I was cycling, completely unaware of what was taking place underneath my nose. The second time was just the other week, when Kingston, the newly employed guard and saver of the dissertation after the demise of ipod, decided that perhaps my editing of Dissertation wasn't adequate, and decided to go for a little spin in the washing machine. Needless to say, Dissertation seemed to have permanently disappeared. But, after a bit of prayer, scolding and drying, Kingston was feeling back to himself and behaved wonderfully for the remainder of his time as guard of Dissertation.

(Sorry about the change in font size - couldn't work out how to change it back to normal.)

Sunday, 25 March 2007

identity

This last week I've been thinking a lot about identity. Everybody has their identity placed in something, but it's not necessarily the right thing. When we look at what our identity is, we see where our perceived purpose in life lies. The things we invest our lives in tend to be what we see as important, or perhaps for some, just what is necessary to keep things ticking over and to keep living.

I'd been thinking about what I'm doing with my life once I graduate - I'm intending on working for a year with my church - and I'd been thinking about how I have no real idea of what I will do at the end of it. I'd kind of been wishing that I knew where my future was headed in terms of a career, thinking that at least if I knew I was going to be a doctor, for example, I would have security in that. But the reality is that whatever we do with our lives, it is not forever. Our lives here on earth really are just a fleeting moment in the space of eternity. Ecclesiastes 3: 11 says,

' He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men...'

And actually, whilst it might seem like having a career set out before you is a security, the reality is that that could change at any moment. For some unknown reason, you could lose your job without any warning. If that happened, where would you stand? Have you rested your hopes on your job? You might not even like your job but it's still possible to have your hope in it. The most important thing is that whatever we do, our security is not in that specific thing, but in giving God the glory in those things.

So although I don't know where I'm headed in this life in terms of a job, I need not worry because God knows, and actually, how would it benefit me to know, if I were to place my security in that rather than God? I was chatting these things through with a wise friend of mine, mr Martin Wicks, and he told me about a church leader, who said he got really sad when people came to him, saying they were worried and fearful because they did not know what they should do with their lives, because, in 1 Thessalonians, Paul encourages us to

'Be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ.'

This is what we are called to do. This is God's will for my life. It's as simple and as wonderful as that. Life isn't about what we think we should be doing with our lives, it's about what God is calling us to do with the life that He has given us - the life that He was responsible for creating - the life which He saved for eternity by sending His Son to the cross for us. Amazing.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

about time...


The busyness of life has once again prevented me from writing a good hearty blog entry for a few weeks - I knew that it would take up way too much time, so resisted the temptation to use blogging as an excuse for procrastinating. Two weekends ago I popped back to the Bay - the first time I have been back during term time in my whole time at uni!
I had a lovely time hanging out with my beautiful sister. Amongst other things, we went to the opticians to find her some new glasses, and we tried on these funky ones which just reminded me of Dame Edna!!

While back in the Bay I had the enormous priviledge of seeing Jo and Steve's beautiful baby daughter. She's amazing.

Since being back in Bristol, marathon training has started. It's going to be a battle but I am determined!

Today I have spent 6 hours in the library - 5 of which were spent in complete silence. I had planned to stay til 7 so I could just go straight to cell group from the library but I don't think it would have done my sanity much good. But my final essay is almost complete, leaving me with just a few ammedments to make to my dissertation, and all my coursework will be finished! That'll be grand. Kind of odd, but grand.

Last weekend I went to see Ludovico Einaudi at the Colston Hall. He was absolutely amazing. I find it just incredible the way God made us to be able to not only be able to play musical instruments, but to be inspired by His creation and express that in music. Just mindblowing.

I've been playing a lot more guitar recently - our church had a valentine's party and I had the privilege of playing alongside the legendary Maeve, which was good fun.

...............................

Well. I started writing this entry the other day, then ran out of inspiration, but didn't feel it was quite finished, so didn't publish it. Last night I babysat for the wonderful Madeleine who really is just phenomenally clever. She has started to grasp the concept of moral reasoning, which is pretty impressive for a not yet 2 and a half year old. She's also turning out to be quite the encourager. We had read quite a few books, then she chose a French one. I told her that I found it hard to read, but decided I'd give it a go anyway while she was distracted with Buckaroo. When she heard me reading in French, she looked at me with surprise and delight, and said, "See, you can do it!!" How lovely. The other day, she was drawing in my diary (with my permission), and telling a story as she drew, which went like this...

"Hannah's driving the tractor....and she's going to live in this house....and she's going to work very hard, isn't she?"

She's such a treasure.

Yesterday, I went and had lunch with my wonderful friend Hannah in Brandon Park, which is a place I love - there is a big spiralling path which is lined with benches looking out across Bristol, and the path leads up to Cabot Tower. It was such a beautifully sunny day, so we just sat and relished in the wonderful heat of the sun. I cannot tell you just how much joy the sunshine brings me. Thanks God.