It was the summer of 2012…

Years in youth work have often made me feel like the year begins in August. As the Edinburgh festivals begin to peeter out, nighttime returns and school begins.

It has been a busy summer. It’s strange to think that this now makes for 3 years since I went to South Africa, which means it is 3 years since I’ve been out of the UK. I don’t think I’ve gone for so long being in the UK ever in my whole life! But I wouldn’t have missed this summer for anything.

Starting with the Queen’s Jubilee, Beacon Night was fantastic. I was after that couple of weeks properly campfired out – because after Beacon I built campfires 3 times in a 2 week period! One night I went straight to my friend’s house covered in mud and smelling of fire so we could take her sons to see the Olympic torch run through Dalkeith. It’s a morning I hope I’ll remember forever.

Then the school year ended and I headed South. A few days in the South West with my lovely friend Ruth before we headed through the rain to Cornwall. Our time with friends old and new in and around the beautiful Constantine Bay was much needed. The return home wasn’t so fun – 10 days of living on raspberries and digestive biscuits meant that I wasn’t too productive. But soon, I was off work again so I could catch every second of artistic gymnastics I could.

When the gymnastics was over, the Edinburgh festivals had begun. A meeting with a favourite author, fun with new American friends seeing a rather famous A Capella group known affectionately as ‘Ted’s Band’ (actually called The Blanks). Comedy. Random reunions. An unexpected night that lasted way longer than expected. Discovering that my favourite Italian takeaway had changed it’s name after discovering the old name was a Jamaican phrase associated with orgasms (yes, you read that correctly). Taking pictures of postboxes painted Gold. Standing in New College belting out the Scottish anthem in honour of  an Olympic medallist. A hen weekend. Doing some stealth worship pastor type work.

And on Monday, a new year began. We expected some of our Guides would not return. We were pleasantly surprised to discovered all but 2 had come back, and we have 3 new additions. Rules were discussed and written. Games were played. I was reminded how loud the cheers and screams of eighteen 10-14 year olds could be.

The one thing I haven’t really mentioned here is church and faith. For the first time in 10 years, I have no idea where to head with that. The wounds from rejection and being drained from fighting and pushing it all down are definitely still there. This summer I came away from a conference a little bit disturbed from what I saw happening. It definitely makes you question who you can trust and what you believe. Is the sacrifice of relationships with people who don’t get that part of you – the part of you that believes such strange and unusual things – worth it? The word that keeps coming back, is the one marked indelibly on my skin. The question is now – how to find it again.



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