30 day blog challenge: Rainbow

A month ago, I went to church in Aberdeen and a woman prayed over me. I knew some decisions needed to be made.

I had no idea that COVID-19 would make those decisions for me.

I went to London for work. I went to stay at my Mum’s in Edinburgh. I travelled down to Berkshire. I travelled down to London again. I walked 30 miles. We travelled back to Berkshire. I drove back to Edinburgh. I sensed the world was about to change, and I really felt the distance the further I drove. Friends were too busy to catch up or see me while I was in Edinburgh. My friends abroad were starting to go on lockdown or following strict social distancing guidelines. My friends who are still in the NHS were telling me what they were seeing. Friends with long term health issues were making the decision to self isolate rather than waiting for the government to catch up to the reality that was coming.

I drove back to Aberdeen.

The day before, I had gone onto the World Health Organisation website.

I had downloaded and read the reports.

I had looked at the graphs and the data.

Epidemiology was always what I excelled at when I was studying Public Health. So I could see what needed to be done. I knew what the implications would be.

Tears spilled down as I drove over the Queensferry Crossing as thoughts whirred through my brain.

My job is at risk.

How am I going to do my job when events inevitably get cancelled?

I may not be able to see friends for months.

The government’s slow reaction is going to put my friends lives at risk.

What am I going to do about the mortgage?

What if I can’t remortgage now that I won’t be able to sell the flat this summer?

Maybe I should rent out the flat and use the money to rent a place closer to friends.

When will I see everyone again?

I prayed to God a simple thought – I don’t know what to do.

What followed was sense that I needed to be in Aberdeen for now.

But God I don’t really want to be in Aberdeen. It’s 127 more miles away from Berkshire, from East Lothian, from Newcastle, from Manchester, from Hampshire, from the Midlands, from London. What about all the costs I’m going to have now? All the things that could go wrong?

And then I saw a rainbow appear over the Forth.

Another over Dunfermline.

Another over Kinross.

I saw rainbow.

After rainbow.

After rainbow.

One would disappear out of sight as the road meandered away from it’s view, only for another to appear on a different horizon.

There were so many during that drive that by the time I got to Dundee I’d lost count after 10 of them.

Everything will work out in the end.

I am with you.

And so since getting back, I’ve worked on the assumption that this is it. I’m hear until next year. I likely won’t be going out much until August unless a treatment or vaccine is found first.

But this isn’t the end of the world.

It might suck.

But we will come through.

I brought the beach home with me…

IMG_3429

I’m back, there is sand EVERYWHERE (no seriously…some of my clothes are going through a second cycle in the washing machine as the first cycle didn’t get the sand out of them!!) and I’m now munching on fresh raspberries as I process the last week.

A week that started out with a surf lesson that I think made me a little ill (more on that at some point probably), and ended with going to church where I ended up crying so much that I stained my top with dripping tears. Classy.

There is nothing quite like not getting enough sleep and being outside your comfort zone to really make you raw and very self aware. The realisation of how easily you can get into a grumpy mood or could get into an argument with someone over something really trivial is telling when you aren’t in your normal routine and not getting enough sleep each night to boot. There is also that thing of being outwith your normal routine and doing things you’ve not done in ages to make you realise your passions, strengths and weaknesses.

IMG_3425

One of the highlights of the week was getting to lead worship every night with my friend Craig. We were sad that his wife and kids weren’t at Surf Camp this year 😦 especially as I’m really beginning to get to know this family over the last couple of years – a few returning campers remember his children fondly from the previous year as they are awesome (like all my friends’ kids really. They are truly and genuinely all awesome). Craig had been so generous in letting me have input into the music for the week and working on it together with other members of the team. I honestly didn’t know whether I could do it still and though there were a few hairy moments it turned out much better and differently that I expected. I even got to do a bit of ukulele-ing and at the end of camp was showing a couple of the campers the chords on ukulele for some of the songs. I even got to do some campfire songs, and learned a new one that I’ve tucked away for a new term at Guides after the summer!

IMG_3439

 

And I love the random discussions we got into in our smallgroup. Like do penguins have knees, and what animals could have been on Noah’s ark. Animals we are familiar with, or animals that became extinct long before we were around to know of them? So I couldn’t help but laugh to walk past this above picture that steadily got added to during the week…!

IMG_3433

The plague of rainbows continued too, as on the final night of camp, a rainbow stretch across the sky above the campsite as we had our end of camp barbecue.

Now I have more questions than answers, as I sense the rainbows are reminding me to trust God in a time where I think there are going to be doors I have to proverbially knock on …which could lead to some big (and scary) life changes. In other news, on a trip to the local swimming pool I discovered (through the Leisure Centre’s free wifi) that I have passed my final assignment for my university practice placement. It wasn’t my best mark, but I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be great given the difficulties I had during my placement which were beyond my control, and the lack of time I ended up with to do the assignment. Assuming the external examiners give their stamp of approval to my grade, I have all the credits for my Diploma in Community Learning and Development now and could graduate in December if I don’t end up signing on for an additional year to do a research project that would upgrade my Diploma to a Masters of Education.

We shall see…! 🙂

Rainbows in the sky  

 

As I mentioned the other day, six years ago at this time I was in South Africa. It was a journey that my online community and my church smallgroup were an integral part of. They got me there in so many ways, offering financial help, encouraging messages through twitter and blog comments and praying for me (and everyone else I was on six planes there and back so I wouldn’t have to deal with puking passengers!). While in South Africa I helped at a holiday club in a community centre, and some of the girls from England taught the kids a song with actions. The chorus goes “the rainbows in the sky show that God’s promises are true”.

I remember one day, coming out of the holiday club after some folks from an organisation came to film what we were doing. It had been a difficult day for me. I had hurt my knee badly one night at a church service (don’t ask – to this day nobody knows how I managed to do it) and had been doing a lot of the holiday club and fitting glass in a school’s window on one leg. We had been singing the song…and came out to find a rainbow across the sky of Bhekuwandle.

IMGP0198

 

I have a tattoo on my foot to remind me of that trip. Months before I went, I saw a vision and heard a word from God. The word was ‘Themba’ – I had no clue what it meant and in my ignorance thought it might be someone’s name. When I got to South Africa, I asked two guys from a local church – one Zambian, one South Africa – if it was a name of someone or if it was a word in any African languages they knew of. It turns out in Zulu the word means ‘Hope and faith’ (or so they told me).

I wasn’t sure about getting tattoo – my mother is totally against them. Some cultures are totally against them and I was concerned about travelling to places where they don’t allow people with tattoos to swim etc. Every time I prayed about getting a tattoo, I would go out and soon after see a rainbow across the sky.

So I got the word themba inked onto my skin for all eternity!

A month ago, I was feeling down in the dumps, frustrated with life and all the things I thought God had promised and let me down on. I was having a real grump and groan about it. Then all of a sudden I looked out into the garden to see not just one, but two rainbows across the sky.

IMG_5566

To me, rainbows are the universe’s reminder to keep having hope and faith, that it will all turn out ok in the end. Even in the midst of rain and cloud…there is colour and light. 🙂