one by one or in twos they arrive

starting with family who are here early to make pancakes and watch little ones

and then friends also start appearing

friendly and awkward chatter takes place in multiple rooms of the house

flapjacks are consumed

coffee is made and then drunk with equal measures of passion

scattered laughter from small groups of people who have not seen each other for a while of whiles

and at some point some kind of order is called

people gradually file into the main room of meetingment

and the ringmaster, Arthur, is introduced

the ‘rules’ are laid our

and the evening is described

a moment of silence

a minute of listening

sharing of ideas, hopes and dreams

more listening

some thoughts

sharing of images and phrases and words and ideas

spoken prayers

response to thoughts, words, pictures and prayers

more silence


small groups

specific focus


more prayer

at some point time is called

goodbyes are given

huge exchanged

chairs moved back to their natural positions

thanks expressed

drifted departures

one or two longer conversations with those who hang around and chat


final farewell

thoughts shared

emotions held

silent reflection


as thoughts pinball viciously around a busy mind

eventually sleep comes


[quite possibly, if you were not there this week, when we invited family and friends to come together and pray and reflect and share and listen with us as we tried to hear some direction from God in terms of the how and the where and the who of where tbV and i live next, this will not mean an awful lot. but let me close it off by suggesting that this was such an incredible time for us and can be for you too. we typically don’t take enough time and advantage of those who mean so much to us in life to invite them into our decision-making and God-reflecting. and if you are feeling far away from God yourself at this moment then inviting others who aren’t to come and hear with you and for you can be a soothing and remedious thing. if all that evening was, was a celebration of even just a fraction of the people who love us – as some who live close could not be there and many who live all over the world who we would have loved to have been there – well, that would have been good enough. it is a powerful force that tells you you are loved. well loved. appreciated, cheered on, celebrated, hoped for and more.

a lot of friend time can be spent in fun but meaningless – one  deeper level – activity – eating. watching, playing – which is not bad stuff, BUT i can not encourage you enough to create some super deep and meaningful times of your own – when you have a big decision coming up or when it’s a significant birthday milestone or even just because – and maybe the best way to do this is to create it for someone else – for a family member, spouse or best friend… gather their people, create space for time and reflection or words of love and encouragement and appreciation… these will be live-changing moments not quickly forgotten

thank you, everyone who was involved this time, present or not, for showing us love well… ]