Saturday, 18 October 2008

Playing the long game

Today in Lancaster we had autumn term's CU leaders' day for Lancashire CU leaders. It's strange thinking that this will be the last of these particular days that I'll have organised as CU Staff Worker here.

It's made today strangely nostalgic. This is the third of these annual gatherings (there's also been another set in summer term), and so I guess it's natural to look back two years to how things were then. The situations in the CUs I work with have changed almost beyond recognition in the past two years, and almost all of the students have changed since then too. Two years ago, the CUs considered themselves to have almost nothing in common. Now they see themselves increasingly as partners in the gospel.

Perhaps it's this longer-term-ism that dictated a conversation that Linda and I had over dinner with my former Relay Worker, Nick, and Adam, my colleague in Carlisle. They were both down to help out at the leaders' day. It was great to chat about a whole load of different subjects. One of the things we talked about were the difficulties that we've found in forming deeper long-term relationships with non-believers in Lancaster.

Linda and I both know plenty of non-believers here, but it's been difficult making these relationships very deep. Now as we think about the fact that we now have less than a year left in Lancaster, we're feeling tinged with sadness thinking that some of these relationships will never get as deep as we'd maybe hoped that they would. Perhaps our expectations were too high. (For both of us, Lancaster was the first move away from Bristol, where we'd been students - and student life makes it very easy to form deep relationships quickly). Perhaps we've not spent enough time with other people engaging in hobbies and passions that we really care about. (I've done a couple of evening courses, but these have never really in subjects I've been particularly bothered about, and so perhaps that's prevented me from forming genuine deep relationships. I kind of feel that sharing a passion automatically deepens a friendship).

I think that we've certainly learnt lessons that we'd like to carry into wherever we live next. In all likelihood, we'll be in our next location for many years. We'd love to bed into the local community and form relationships that matter.

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