I remember as a student in London buying the weekly magazine Time Out to catch up on films and see where cheap theatre tickets could be bought. Always a mine of information and very candid and illuminating reviews. I wonder of it is still in print?
I am back in Temple Balsall after some time out contemplating what lies ahead. A few days in the bright open countryside of mid Wales.
Some of my regular readers will know that I am to move after Easter to pastures new. A new home and area of the country – a new set of work colleagues and work.So change and all change ahead – and as ever – with human experience it is a mixture of feelings that rise to the surface often in an unexpected way.
There is first the immediate physical challenge of moving. Will the furniture fit? What about the pictures and – of course all those books? Do I need so many shirts and socks and pencils? Time perhaps to unclutter and try to live more simply. Easier said than done and especially when we all get so attached to those odd bits and pieces that make up our life. Will I ever be able to find anything ever again.
I have found the sorting through of papers very liberating. On the whole I have a tendency to keep too much so this time the recycling bin has had a generous top up from my office. I have one box for personal stuff from my ten years here – a photograph or two and especially a handful of letters that really made a difference to me.
Second I need to leave key matters in good order for my successor. Hard working colleagues need my care and support. There is a full programme for Lent and Easter and a number of speaking engagements to be honored. A new diary and a workable filing system is a good welcoming gift to whoever suceeds me in this work.
Third I need some space to cherish what this place and community have meant to me so that I can let it be and let it go. My time here is but a short breath of its long history. Temple did very well before I arrived and has every chance of thriving after my departure! I hope that I have left matters in good heart but those evaluations are not for me to make – much of the work has been hidden – others rightly should harvest what has been sown. I grew up in a part of the country where people were good at cutting folks down to size – especially those who over claimed … so a proper reticence and humility are a part of deepening our humanity and attending to our fragile egos!
Mind you I have been amazed at the sheer quantity of letters and cards. And surprised by what has been expressed.People are kind and generous in their tributes. Others have the gift of the choice of words that hit the note just right. Some have enjoyed the pulling of my leg – and rightly so! Watch out!!
Of course much has been shared – but I have been blessed and enriched beyond words. Sometimes time out gives the space to be able to make these connections and reflect on what guides us forward in the sheer wonder and adventure of living.
But unless you think time out is all about inward preoccuption – not so….. there was that huge book about Marc Chagall – all 600 pages of wonderful biography ( see the blog later in the week) and a very moving biography of Clementine Churchill by her talented daughter Mary Soames. A rich picture of a long life of devotion.
And the excitement of planning and lists and other preparations ( including wall paper samples) ….its a great life but even better with time out!!