This morning the kids found a baby bird hiding under one of the outdoor chairs in the garden. Though wild, it acted tame, even allowing the kids to pat and stroke its little back, all the time keeping its soft wings held close to its side.
‘Lets call it princess,’ suggested W (princesses being the in thing in the garden lately). Thankfully, they decided on Benny. It soon became apparent why little Benny bird was so quietly and complacently settled under the seat.
‘I don’t think he can fly,’ said our upstairs neighbour B, in her always-compassionate way.
At this the kids had an idea. Flapping their arms wildly before Benny, they began running in circles, mimicking and modelling movement, attempting to help Benny learn what he was made to do.
‘Fly,’ they called in their high, eager child voices. ‘Fly!”
In just a few hours the end of year college dinner starts, then tomorrow is the graduation ceremony for those students who have completed their studies here. I woke this morn to D upstairs strumming his guitar in preparation for leading the music in the service, the familiar words and melodies, bless the Lord all my soul, all my soul worship his holy name…coming down through the ceiling.
I’m pretty sure there’s a month to go in 2015, but around here, at the theological college, things are clearly wrapping up.Exams, less than a couple of weeks behind us, are already a distant memory, swept away by the string of strong southerly breezes following the hot days.
And friends and neighbours are moving out and on.
And as I walk the well-trodden route between our house and the ‘dinner place’ as the kids call it, each flower along the way familiar (my little pram companions never fail to point them out), and so many faces familiar now too, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. And wonder.
How many big decisions have been made in this space, amongst these bushes and trees and flowers? How many seemingly casual conversations over biscuits and tea are in fact setting future paths in motion. Change, it seems, is sewn into the very soil here.
And that Jacaranda tree in the courtyard stands tall over it all, its generous arms embracing those beneath it, its purple flowers spilled like confetti all around.
I think of the people that welcomed us when we arrived here just earlier this year, and assisted with matters practical and pastoral. I think of all the little spontaneous meetings that have taken place since, and chats, and windows open into eachothers’ lives.
And true, I haven’t been as involved as I would have liked to be this year. I admit. I’ve been more of a watcher at times than a participator. A new baby arriving can do that to you. But I’ve witnessed it. The communion. As I snatch up my dinner tray in my post-baby born state, in my sleepless night haze. I feel it, I see it, the love here, and it energizes and encourages me as I head back by foot to our little bit of home here.
Do we realise what a rarity this is, this time spent in community, in a fragmented world?
This place. Where so many new stories begin.
And I’m appreciative, for how people are fostered here, how solid groundwork is laid, how sincere faith is fostered and favoured, not surface sparkle.
And I’m excited for my friends, for these graduates. And for the world they go out into. To work in, to minister to.
As long as the Lord directs their paths, light will follow.
So, as the kids said to the little Benny bird, I say to you who move out and on…
no need to fear, it’s time to ‘fly.’
© All photos in this post are graciously supplied by the ever-talented Rachel Marks.