On the Saturday I had my students graduation, and on the Sunday I had a wedding. Both occasions for celebration but also times to be sad too.
So on Saturday I said goodbye to 6 students I have had the joy of looking after since September. It has been a really fun year; getting to know them all individually and seeing them develop as youth workers has been ace! So it was sad to say goodbye.
(Dave, Nick, Me, Matt, Hannah, JP and Sam - photo courtesy of Caro Swan)
I find it really tough to split emotions - clearly I was really happy to see them all graduate the year and it was a proud moment seeing various ones speak at the service...but in my head my thoughts were revolving around, "what happens if my team next year are rubbish?!" I have loved these guys because of their attitude towards loving the young people and working hard for them...I am a bit worried that I won't get guys like them again. Also these guys have seen my "uniqueness" (Hannah said I was the weirdest person she had ever met!!) and yet they have grown used to it and love me any way. Right now going through that whole process again with a new team seems quite laborious, but hopefully after a holiday I'll be more enthusiastic about it.
SUNDAYOn Sunday I had the joy of joining with my friends Miriam and Darren at their wedding. It was up in Liverpool (Formby to be precise) and was brilliant fun because off a whole host of things. The service wasn't your traditional wedding ceremony - we learnt sign language, sang sunday school songs, played Mr and Mrs, made paper chains and sent "positive vibes"...and the reception was pretty much in the same vein - bouncy castle, fish and chip snacks, bride singing etc...and I loved ALL OF IT!
(Everyone - photo courtesy of Mustard Yellow Photography)
It was most definitely a celebratory day. A number of my friends from Aberystwyth were in attendance which made it even more joyful and I was really lucky to get to spend some quality time with Naomi and Malcolm (otherwise known as Mustard Yellow Photography) 2 wonderful people who drove me back to Birmingham, gave me a bed and fed me pancakes and ginger beer in the morning. What legends.
Anyway, this weekend has had real highs and more difficult bits. It's probably a good thing that I have a bit more time to reflect and rest and generally get a grip on where I'm going in life.
I've been reminded of the verses in Ecclesiastes 3:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Now the verses about killing, hating and war I don't really know what to do with - but I am just taking from it that there are times when it's ok to feel a bit sad about letting go.