This post is a little different to normal as today I’m joining in with Emily Freeman and her Let’s share what we learned in January spot. Read below for some things I have learnt this Summer Down-Under…
Light and Shade
Here in the Southern Hemisphere, on the edge a big island called Australia, it’s summer. While my relatives in Canada and Europe, and my friends in the US, find themselves surrounded in snow, in Sydney we have been sweltering through waves of heat.
Now, I like the sun. There’s nothing worse than an overcast sky that never lifts. But I like it best in moderation, those in between moments, early morning and late evening, when it doesn’t require dousing oneself in suncream just to step out the door. What I LOVE in Summer are those rare times when you find just the perfect patch of shade, the perfect circle of cool under a big tree or by the water, to soften the glare and make the warmth on your back feel like an embrace rather than an attack.
This January has been a season of extremes, and not just the external weather types. The beginning of the year is always big, but with a new church, new jobs of sorts and so many ‘news’, its felt quite full-on at points. But amidst it all, there have been those moments of replenishment to take some of the heat off. Today I’m sharing 5 things I’ve learnt in January that provide refreshment, the good stuff I don’t want to forget as I move into the new year.
1. Time with old friends is never wasted time.
And in-person time is best. Even a half-hour cup of tea across the table from someone who ‘gets’ you before you begin to talk is exponentially good for mind and soul. Those ‘ah ha,’ ‘me too’ moments C.S. Lewis says make friendships begin, also help them endure.
2. You never know who will step into your life next.
Already, only two weeks in at our new church, we have been amazed at who the Lord has intercepted our paths with when we have asked him to provide relationships in which we can love and encourage.
3. Closed doors may be secret passages in disguise.
A couple of months ago, my husband (Dr M) went for a job interview in Oxford UK. He missed out by one place. What seemed like bad luck was, we are sure, more than this. The path just took another turn. Where we are now we never could have anticipated we could be before. But I’m so glad to be here.
4. Everyone has a story. Take the time to listen.
In case you haven’t been following ours, we are now in our second year of living residentially in a theological college. Last year we were the newbies. This year we are part of the process of welcoming the new people in. It’s amazing to have a whole world of people (literally from all over the world) to get to know, right on your doorstep (again, literally. Our apartment backs out to the communal garden for families). And each face has a unique perspective and history. For someone like me who loves hearing people’s tales, it’s something of a smorgersboard. A stories-smorgersboard. I look forward to hearing as many as possible across the year. Relationships expand horizons.
5. And most importantly, in Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, in rain, hail or shine, if you are thirsty, DRINK.
Today in church we reflected on Psalm 1. A tree planted by streams of water is blessed. Plant yourself near the source. Drink in His goodness. Keep drawing from the source that can’t be drained. Daily. When we forget to drink (like I sometimes do!) the heat of the sun not only drains us, it breaks us. We cannot afford to stop sipping, gulping, drinking of the Living Water, from the Living Word. If we wish to live.