Family, friends and work associates from the States keep asking the same question. “Are you settling in?” I usually respond, “YES!” Of course we’re settling in – we’ve found our way to church, to the market, to the green grocer and to a few pubs. I can get to work now (most days) without taking the wrong round-about(s).
We initially had some challenges with housing. Our attached cottage (sort of like a townhouse apartment) needed repairs to the plumbing in the cloakroom (laundry), repairs to the shower which was leaking into the lounge (living room), a new bathroom subfloor and tile due to the leaking shower, an electrician to repair lights in the lounge (probably due to the water leaking through and shorting the circuitry), and some general maintenance (burned out lights, exhaust fans not working, etc.). And apparently some shingles had blown off the roof. Deb has handled all the contractors here and for her trouble and inconvenience was able to talk the landlord in to buying us a new bed. Tony (the landlord) and Carole his wife are now good friends with Deb. Carole has given us great recommendations for restaurants, day trips, theatre, museums, etc. And now that the repairs are done this really is a lovely place. So yes – we’re settling in.
Last Sunday we went to Mass at Saint Peter’s RC (Roman Catholic) Church in Cirencester. The RC is a very important distinction here in the United Kingdom; most churches are C of E (Church of England). And when someone mentions The Parish Church they don’t mean your parish – they mean the official Church of the county (or parish) – always C of E! (One more thing to learn.) Anyway at Mass last Sunday the lyrics of the communion hymn were something like “Leave your home; leave your family; follow Me, follow Me…” Deb and I were wiped out by this and we both fought back our tears. And I kept thinking that I followed my job here – not God! But this week a friend told me that God sometimes puts our feet on unfamiliar ground to remind us of what we take for granted. True, so true…
I sometimes dream that Charlise is coming for the weekend or that Anna and Noah are over for breakfast and then I wake up and stumble down the stairs to a quiet house – those are tough mornings. But most days are filled with new things; new adventures; new opportunities. And Deb and I have become even closer – in some ways it’s like we’re newlyweds again. Sharing this experience with my soul mate makes even the quiet mornings bearable.
So perhaps we didn’t leave our home to follow God to England, but as it turns out He was here waiting for us when we arrived.