Everything happened in a blur on Thursday morning, the removal van arriving early from Walton bringing a new bed and sofa bed to put in the small flat in Clapham that Simon is going to be renting when he leaves university in two months time and where we can stay on our return trips to London.
It then loaded up our fridge, freezer, and two chairs and as many boxes and black sacks as they had room for, before heading east at 10.30am. At the same time some guys from the church had also hired a van and were busy taking out all our large pieces of furniture which were going to new homes in the church. By midday the house was bare of furniture. All that remained were the boxes and odds and ends that didn’t make it onto the van. Then the ‘All Nations angels’ appeared, helping pack and clean. We spent that night in the Clapham flat in the new bed with a very disorientated dog!
Early Friday we were back at our old home, vacuuming through, emptying and cleaning out my aquarium, tidying up the garden, cleaning out the shed and woodpile, all in the pouring rain. I was soaked through, but didn’t mind; the rain running down my face hiding the streaming tears. Our next door neighbour burst into tears when she saw the loaded car nearly ready to draw away for the last time.
We finally arrived at Walton in the evening too exhausted to unpack the car, to be greeted by a cottage pie on our doorstep left by a friend and a pile of lovely welcome cards. (see photo!) That night it wasn’t just the dog who was disorientated!
It has been so good to know we are being upheld by so many good friends during this time of emotional and spiritual upheaval. Interflora delivered us a beautiful basket of flowers from some long time All Nations members on Saturday that started the tears again! The relationship a pastor has with his ‘flock’ is quite difficult for many people to fully understand, it has never been just a ‘job’ to us, we have truly loved those God gave us ‘from the nations’, and embedded in our hearts. It was a great comfort to receive these words from another pastor who recently trod this path and understood what we are feeling.
‘ we are holding you in our prayers during this difficult time. Our hearts go out to you both as you grieve the loss of role and community at All Nations and as you prepare to leave your family home and all its memories. I am so aware that we cannot begin to understand how you are feeling at this time, with the added trauma of sickness, but we feel a strong empathy for you as it is still so very fresh in ourselves the leaving of our church and the manse after over 20 years. The pain was so deep and the tears flowed for months. Now, 3 years later, we can give thanks to God for showing us a new path, and for revealing more of himself to us, and despite the heartache I would not want to loose one minute of all that God has shared with us as we have learnt to let go on this new journey’.
Three years … yikes! Please keep holding our ladder – we are not there yet!
‘Love is forever surrendering itself, but only to be reborn more intensely’.