This weekend I took a brief visit back to Bournemouth, leaving London for a couple of days to visit the family and attend my friend's engagement party. I wouldn't normally head back so early into term, but it was a lovely opportunity to hang out with the mother and sister, and visit the coast. On Saturday we drove east to a local little market town called Lymington, and poked around in the stalls and shops. I bagged a bargain, and picked up a Hilary Mantel book for just a pound! and bought some beautiful prints of Dorset to remind me of home whilst at Uni.
Saturday evening was spent with friends celebrating the engagement of one of my oldest friends and her new fiancée There was lots of pizza making, cake and charades. Very, very fun, and great to be together with people that aren't often in the same place at once.
Before I had to dash back to the City though, there was time for a quick trip over Hengistbury Head. Still one of my favourite places, with it's view over Bournemouth and Christchurch, the choppy sea, and the rows of beach huts. It is one of the things I miss most about living in East London where wide open spaces are hard to come by, and are inevitably surrounded by offices and ugly high-rise housing.
|Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth|
I was fortunate enough to make a coach that got me back to London in time for church, which was just exceptional this week. The preach was all about stories - how our lives are stories, and yet we're invited to live a bigger story, a more exciting adventure, by becoming characters in God's story, in the great story of all the earth. Anything to do with literature is obviously going to get me from the start, but it was just the most beautiful look at the invitation God gives to his people to live as part of something that is so much bigger than any one individual. We were looking at a passage in the Gospels where Jesus calls the disciples, and I was blown away that he didn't offer them safety, or worldly security, but he did promise them adventure through a relationship with Him.
The evening was finished off with some student training on working out what you want to do in life. Always helpful, and always needed. As a result, some friends and I grabbed some wine, some chocolate and our notebooks and went and chatted and dreamt about the lives we want to live. It was the best end to a lovely weekend.
|Wine and chocolate to inspire dreaming|
And yet there was some incredibly sad news I heard over the past couple of days too. Not directly affecting me, but someone I'm very close to. And in amongst all my reflections on life, I've been faced with the unexpected, by the fact that life is not infinite, at least not in this world. And neither are we masters of it.
In the face of all that, a quote from Lord of the Rings which was referenced in church on Sunday, has stuck with me. Our stories are always going to involve conflict, they would be very dull tales if they didn't, and yet in the face of conflict, there is hope; a promise of grace.
“I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?” Samwise Gamgee speaking to Gandalf.