Time to get rid of the trivia and prepare to slow down for lent. Easier said than done.
Today began with breakfast in Berlin, lunch in Dusseldorf, followed by afternoon tea at a Chapter meeting in Coventry and pancakes for dinner at home in Meriden!
Diary and plans had allowed for a break from air travel from now until after Easter, except for the honourable exception of a weekend visit to Belfast over the Palm Sunday weekend for my mother’s 80th birthday. The travel diary for the first few months had also been well synchronised to allow for rugby weekends at home.
Alas however the best laid plans have come unstuck as I now have to travel to Hanau just outside of Frankfurt for a presentation of a Cross of Nails to a new CCN partner (Community of the Cross of Nails) church on 20 March. The devastating point is not so much the extra travel, but that I miss the last weekend of the six nations championship AND the critical Ireland / England game. Critical not in the sense of the tournament, but in the now living in England and needing the home team to win sense! Just like Ireland cricket last week.
However it is time to stand still for a season to catchup. Since leaving my previous job and beginning the process of taking up the job at Coventry I have travelled on 124 separate flights to 31 destinations using some 17 airlines and over 40 different beds! The sky blue or night blue view from the plane has been made up for with 3000 photos, 10 car hires, numerous taxis, trains, buses and car rides with new friends.
Herein lies the blessing, the countless hours in the company of the most amazing and inspiring people. Projects that challenge the status quo of hate and prejudice, initiatives to create the space for peace to take root, risks in reaching out to the historical enemy for the sake of a better future, moving acts of worship in German, Russian, Icelandic, Arabic, Dutch and Hebrew. With this comes the challenge to try to at least learn the Lord’s prayer in some of these languages of my new friends. Something to take up for Lent?
For now, time to slow down.
To cook up this pancake of memories and ingredients of movement across the globe.
To clear out the trivia of frequent flyer points and fantastic food.
To hold in my mind’s eye the wonders of nature.
To listen again to the stories of peoples and communities, division and hurt, suffering and loss.
To give thanks for those things that make for peace in communities, especially in the church.
To remember with gratitude the people, their hope and pain, which has made it all worth while.
Tomorrow Lent begins.