i’m tired and i need a break.
find joy & peace & happiness & purpose. if you’re not enjoying your everyday then change something —- fight for the feeling of fulfillment and excitement and joy of doing what you love and being with the people you love. choose to not let yourself be bogged down by the pressures of life; choose to not let work rob the passion you have; don’t lose your curiosity & creativity. take time out of your day to do something you love — that you just choose to do yourself. stop only doing things because you have to: don’t let life become a chore. do things because you want to & because you love it & because they give you joy!
please don’t let me be
by this trip. I don’t want to
to my old life.
I don’t want to
forget what I learnt and heard and saw.
I want to remember and be changed.
Please can I be changed.
Don’t let these days away be wasted – don’t let them fade away.
Don’t let these days be wasted.
Swaziland: October 2017
This half-term break, I was so lucky to go on a St Mungo’s Youth Mission trip to Swaziland. It was absolutely amazing. We played with kids, weeded, painted, visited, prayed, danced, sang and slept under the stars. I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the place or the love, hope, joy, kindness, hospitality of the people of Swaziland. I was touched and changed by the lives and characters of the people we met. I really feel like I can’t do this trip, these experiences, or these people, any justice through merely words. God really humbled me and spoke to me this trip. He taught me the importance of waiting on Him, patience, and that true hope doesn’t depend on circumstances.
Some of the things I saw were enough to break my heart, to bring me to my knees in tears – the drought, the sickness, the stories of abandonment and abuse. But I also saw things that lit a flame of hope in my heart. The stories of healing, the children who had been rescued from abusive homes or off the streets and brought in with love, the unrelenting hope of those suffering from the drought. I had been struggling to understand how people who didn’t even have the most basic need – and the foundation of all other needs – because of the drought, could trust in a God who loves them; how could they believe that there was a God who loved them and provided for them? If Jesus gives life-giving water, why weren’t these people getting the water they needed to actually survive? Then we met a pastor in Lavumisa, and I was so inspired and my entire outlook shifted. He was so excited and joyful – he was convinced that God would provide for them, and that God has good plans for him. He rested on the truths of the Bible and remembered times in the past where God had brought rain after a 20-year drought, and he didn’t give up praising God for his faithfulness – all whilst the river in Lavumisa was still dried up. He held onto the truth that God’s timing is perfect, and that God will protect and provide. I was inspired by his patience and his faith in God’s provision despite the circumstances that he was in. Meeting him made me realise:
Patience is the perseverant hope in the Lord’s provision, protection and perfect plan, regardless of the situations that we are in.
Listen to our syncopated hop skip
and our plucking of rosebuds and daisies.
As children in spring, smiles tug on our lips,
and the warm rising sun lights our faces.
Wrists are laced with daisies like many suns,
the rosebuds round our necks are like lockets
waiting to be opened. We laugh and run
as petals overflow from our pockets.
Hand-in-hand, steps weave in and out of time
among the fresh budding flowers. We play,
oblivious to the brightening sun:
springtime to summer, and morning to day.
No longer children, we look to the sky
for a breath, we see the blue and the white
then the hot blazing sun. Blinded, we try
to navigate onward, to gain some sight –
torn by the pursuit of the light, our hope,
and the awareness that night will come near
and surround us. Soon the darkness will rope
around our necks, but we ignore it. Here:
surrounded by light, surrounded by life.
But then summer’s scattered footprints decay:
crabapple blossoms fallen from trees lie
wilting along with the light of the day.
Listen to the rustle of trembling leaves,
their whispers clash with the bite of the air.
The rusting sky echoes that of the trees,
but the rust inside us cannot repair.
It seems these days could trudge through clouds of rain:
step after step after step after step.
Our hands – with skin like tree bark – crack and wane.
Step after step after step after step.
Hands cling together – braced against the cold
that we know will come. We see the sun sink
into the horizon – we reach out, try
to trap it in our hands. But then we blink.
The syrup of the sky turns into tar,
darker and darker and darker – then black.
The only light comes from the fading stars.
We want the sun, the spring, the daylight back.
It’s now too dark to see the missing hands
once inside ours. The footprints beside us
fade with a final thump. Silence expands
round us like a blanket – blades of frost cut
into every step on the barren ground.
The snow muffles every breath, every cry
when we finally understand that we
can’t reach up and pluck the stars from the sky.
Milky eyes gleam like opals
set into her rocky face.
The ridges and cracks of
time crease around her eyes,
her skin is weathered and
Wrinkled yet steady hands stroke
the petals of a flower plucked
from a cherry tree,
the fingers see its delicate form –
fragile like glass.
Her hands linger towards the horizon,
unable to touch
– to see –
the curves of the hills ahead,
or the rays of light dappling
through the overhanging leaves.
All that can be felt, that can be
is the curve of a pebble in her palm
like the line of hills rolling
away in the distance;
and the cool flow of water
like light through the trees.
Here are some photos from 2014 when we went to Glacier National Park, Montana. It’s a bit of a throwback to my first ever post…