It was 5.30 in the morning, a time neither of us have seen in a long time, and as we turned off the junction into Bristol we have never been happier to see that beautiful RAC building, or the wonderful Horfield leisure center...even if there were no Starbucks open at that time in the morning on a Sunday we were home and very, very happy.
Watching the church celebrate and send off Mum and Dad Pears in the way that they did only enhanced our desire to be back in bristol doing what we continually feel God calling us to do. Strangely only 4 months ago we couldn't wait to leave Bristol and felt completely unprepared for what we thought God was calling us to do. Its funny how quickly things change and how sometimes we have to be patient for what we feel we are ready for- most probably because we aren't in fact ready for it. Even if we were, we know how lucky we are to have such amazing jobs and have so much time together to spend how we wish – so we should continue to rejoice in that and make the most of it all instead of rushing ourselves back into the normality that is working more than three days a week. However,whatever expectations we had for this year it seems they have not come to be fulfilled and have left us slightly disappointed in many ways – but one of my favorite bits in Bonhoffers book about community is his idea that the most constructive experience we could have in encountering and living out Christian community is disillusionment. That in fact our far fetched ideals and dreams are nothing but destructive for a Christian community- giving people false hope of what could be. Our disillusionment hasn't led us to give up on our dreams only teach us what is real, what is constructive, what works and why and how no matter how good you think you are, you really ain't all that. Disillusionment helps us to accept our failures gracefully and in a non self- destructive way, it helps us to better understand people and to accept them. as far as i can see it basically keeps your feet on the ground, your heart humbled before God and your dreams and ideas lightly held in your hand instead of wrapped in between your tight fist just daring anyone to challenge them.
So as much as we would love to heading back home to bristol, we really are praying for God to give us patience as we continue to pull pints at the Riverside and spend time with people from the community. We know we are learning a lot... and we know when its right we will be making that last trip down south and once again passing that wonderful RAC centre and finding a starbucks that is open and walking the dogs on the downs.
For now we are enjoying our dogs, our pub community and our caravan and awaiting all our lovely visitors over the next few months. Please continue to pray that we grow in our understanding of what God is calling us to do and that our hopes and dreams will be held lightly before God.
To those of you we saw on Sunday too we couldn't of been happier to see you!thanks for such a wonderful day and celebration for our family.
Andy and Rae