Bouts of Bravery

I call him CM. Meeting him is the result of a mixture of a challenge with work friends and curiosity.

I can imagine HA lifting her eyes to heaven. ‘A dating website? What have I told you?’

Obviously, I’m not put off by other people’s bad experiences. Although, i’ve heard both good and bad online dating stories. My previous boss put me off sites like Match.com, purely because it seemed like all the men she was meeting wanted was sex. Not a relationship, just sex. (and don’t get me started on those ‘we met online’ case studies. I know PR when i see it!)

He ‘looted’ the site as he was leaving CC. Deciding not to renew his subscription he mailed me his email address with an invitation, “I thought I would take a bit more of a direct approach give you my e-mail and suggest that if you are interested in getting to know me more you can e-mail me.”

He said he’d lasted three months. And I can understand why. In only a month I felt I was becoming a little too obsessive. I was frequently logging on to see who had ‘waved’ at me, who had looked at my profile (which i was constantly updating and ‘refining’. Actually, I think the 60 year-old was the last straw. [shiver]

However, one ‘bout of bravery’ later I realised that new friendships can be surprisingly easy. I put this down to having no expectation other than, a meeting of two people who happen to have had very similar experiences. Similar hurts..and stories of healing.

And so, we moved from email to texting; with the last bout of bravery (‘bob’) leading to our first phone conversation at Greenbelt. Now we speak nearly every day.

Unfortunately, after using the ‘bob’ acronym in a text to him, I can’t think of it being anything other than ‘battery operated boyfriend’. A friend of his had informed of the alternative meaning just before our first conversation at Greenbelt. His story made me smile. No. Actually I laughed and laughed. And he continues to make me laugh.

We’re friends, but he’s made me think about what it would be like to finally move on. It’s become a possibility, something to work towards. Although i can’t really do this unless i start a certain legal procedure. Today, I pulled out the ‘Papers’. They’ve been sitting in front of me since 9.30am. I could potentially have my surname back by Christmas. If not by then, then very soon after.

In other news: my Orchids have flowered. And at the same time! This means, they must like me.

They are beautiful.

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I asked for little things at Greenbelt

So, God is talking to me. From the moment a work colleague, Luke told a story in the Morning meeting about not forgetting to ask for the little things…I’ve been hearing Him.

Luke, who staggers his work hours to avoid crowded tube’s after 7/7, makes a point of noting who is sitting near him in a carriage. So when the tube he was on pulled into a station, and people left and refilled the carriage, he’d actually taken the time to ‘look’ at the comings and goings around him. The next person to sit next to him found an iPhone on the seat, and asked if it was Luke’s. It wasn’t his, but Luke had immediate an empathy for the guy who’d lost it…who, incidentally…Luke remembered.

Luke is a social media freak. (maybe freak’s too strong a word) but he’s always on his iPhone. He lost his once, and I think a little piece of his world crumbled.

He prayed that the guy and his phone would be reunited. And felt silly about this, because God obviously has a lot going on at the moment what with Isreal and the Arab Spring, the England Riots and the end of Col Gaddaffi’s regime.

But God answered. Luke and the stranger got off the tube together. The stranger went one way, saying he would hand the phone in. And Luke went the other..making his way to the exit. Suddenly he noticed a man running desperately towards him with the aim of getting on the tube. It was the man who’d left his phone on the seat.

Luke grabbed him as he was about to shoot past him and said simply, ‘you’re phone just being handed in.’

I’m telling this story as a sign post to my own experiences while at Greenbelt this year. A number of my prayers have been answered. Firstly being the actually ticket to the festival. I’ve always wanted to go, but financial situation I’m in at the moment meant that I wouldn’t have been able to afford it…plus the cost of buying camping gear.

My ticket was provided by CODEC, which meant I worked a couple of hours on their stand, and then had the rest of the time free to explore the festival! My sister knows someone who works in a camping shop…and got 10% off my tent…which ended up being £10. I borrowed a sleeping bag from my mum; and a kettle and camping stove from work. [Thank you Father for providing through friends and family]

The only thing I didn’t have, which would have been nice and saved me buying coffee, was a thermos flask. But then, one morning I was talking to the Communications guy from the London School of Theology when he stopped and said he had a ‘random act of kindness’. He gave me a box, which contained (did you guess?) a thermos flask! [Thank you Lord for hot coffee while i was working on the stand]

I had a really interesting conversation with a guy called Daniel. He’s doing a phd in something like theology and blogging. CODEC is the Centre for Christian Communication in the Digital Age (I know, the acronym doesn’t quite work does it?) but we talked about the impact of social media on Christendom etc. And then I asked where he was from. His Church is in Colliers Wood. I was stunned. I live up the road from there. He then asked if I went to St Nic’s. Which I don’t, but I’ve been wondering about going to a local Church…

I only had around £30 spending money fir the long weekend. And it was enough. Just.
Collecting my car from my parent’s house, I had half a tank. Although, on my way out, my dad had told me to put an extra £10 petrol in, to be safe. And, foregoing a round of beers, I took his advice.

I really wanted to keep £10 aside, just in case. But after rounds had been bought for me at the Jesus Arms by the lovely people i was with and had met, I felt obliged to buy one.

I said goodbye to Greenbelt on Tuesday morning. Looking at my petrol gage, I suddenly felt very silly for spending that last £10 on beer.

I started to pray. Very hard. Hitting Oxfordshire i saw a man at the side of the road hitchhiking. He was holding those temporary number plates they have when they ferry cars from one part if the country to the other. I passed him, thinking about safety before petrol. I got to the M25.. And my gage was on empty. I just prayed.

What with my bank being in a shambles, I’m still unsure if my AA cover is still live. I called the 2nd emergency service…(my parents) to warn them of my predicament. I felt so bad for worrying them. But, to cut it short, I got home. With an empty tank I managed to park on my dad’s driveway. My parents were so surprised to see me.