‘If we know exactly where we’re going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we’ll see along the way, we won’t learn anything. ” ― M. Scott Peck
For some days now I have been pondering how to start this new blog.
My early morning walks with Milo (the ‘One Dog’) have served to provoke and challenge my thinking and ideas about whether or not to start a new blog, what it should contain, what should be the focus, how it should look, who would possibly be a ‘follower’ and how could I possibly write anything about my life that would be of any interest to anyone!
And so, taking inspiration from one of my favourite authors, I am taking the plunge.
And as the quote above indicates, I have no idea of the direction, the destination or even the issues that I will share..but this I know:
There are some aspects of life that figure large in my life. Namely:
Having enjoyed writing my first blog
I have been encouraged by dear friends and some of my followers to continue writing. However, my circumstances have changed, and so it would seem appropriate to make a new beginning on a new blog…which is why part of my blog’s title remains the same….
For in this blog I guess I will be hoping to write about LIFE…life in all it’s fulness, joys, ups, downs and idiosyncrasies….coupled with the capacity to laugh at myself from time to time, yet never forgetting that I am a totally flawed human being, yet loved unconditionally by God.
So..by way of introduction..let me share some background.
Born in Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia as it was then) I lived an amazing care-free childhood with many cousins and revelled in the boundless freedom that comes with being isolated and protected from the real world. When I was a few years old, we moved to Nyasaland (now Malawi) and it is here that my more detailed childhood memories captivate my imagination. In particular, the pangs of growing up,..and the first experiences of what I now know to be ‘serial abandonment’ ..by that I mean the times when I was repeatedly separated from those I loved dearly. Mainly to do with schooling and education. Not much fun, and I really didn’t realise the full impact of such separation until the beginning of this year. In many ways, 2013 has been characterised by recognition ion of the pain of abandonment coupled with a deep healing process facilitated by two very dear friends.
Alongside the struggles and joys of growing up, I made a momentous decision when I was 8 years old, and living in a town called Que-Que in ‘Rhodesia. And the impact of that decision has remained with me throughout my life.
In a tiny community of Christian believers, I made the decision to commit my life to God..and was later baptised. It was a radical and quite life changing decision. And I have never regretted it. Throughout the challenges of being parted from my family, my father in particular, I was always sure of my Heavenly Father’s love and care for me. He has been so faithful in all the circumstances of my life. This became the turning point in my life. For while I baulked and rebelled and was quite frankly a pain, I always knew that I was not alone, that God was my comforter and my strength.
Boarding school in the UK proved to be another life changing experience. From a co-educational boarding school in Blantyre, where I could play as much sport as I liked (even though it was too much for my teachers, not enough academic work) to a convent in South Wales..the cold, the culture, the curriculum all served to dent my self belief and confidence. Another change of school to complete my ‘A’ levels meant getting down to the serious business of study. I was not a good student. Only years later did I realise I had specific learning difficulties …the gap between my head knowledge and my written work was gigantic. Ever since I was young I had always wanted to be a teacher..and so the only route for me was Teacher Training College, in Bristol. Successfully completed I began teaching in a Primary school in the valleys of South Wales.
Marriage, children and a move to Gloucester followed, and then the pain and anguish of a break up and learning to be a single parent to three girls under three years of age. A tough call. But again, I was deeply aware of God’s provision and leading. I was able to find work, and gradually stability…until a few years later when I met Stephen. That is a miracle in itself. And the subject of an embryonic book! Our two families came together – being married on Christmas Eve in 1988. A incredible nineteen and a half years followed. Until he was diagnosed with Advanced Pancreatic Cancer – and died twenty days later.
This was proved when I faced the greatest challenge of all – the abandonment and separation from my beloved husband when he died. It was to be the hardest test of my faith..so far. But even in this dreadful nightmare of loss, I knew, without any doubt that God was still my comfort and my guide. It may seem a bit of a platitude but it is for real. And slowly, over the last five years, I have been able to learn to live a new life – one that stands in testimony to all that has gone before.
And so this is where I am now…continuing to learn to live life in all its fullness. Full of wonder, adventure, love and somehow opening my life to those around me, embracing them, being available, being vulnerable – being human, ordinary and authentic.
I love lighthouses…..they remind me that God is my Light and Shows me the Way….