Roll on Spring

Can’t believe how nice and warm it was today, walking through Bradford it felt amazing, to see kids playing out in the sun, and running in and out of the fountains outside City Hall. I am really looking forward to Easter as I’ve run out of holiday to take, and normally try and have odd days off or short weekends to make the commute/work-pressures bearable. I may consider reducing my hours at some point but have resisted so far as we have really good flexible working arrangements and I am able to work from home most weeks. At the moment it’s really busy as I am reviewing a few different investments the council makes, and there is pressure to reduce spending, and alot of need out there that can be met. One of the projects is about refugees, and I’ve become aware recently of how difficult it must be for people arriving in a foreign country, and trying to make this place their home, living on minimum wages or worse, and not knowing who to speak to for help. Bradford has it’s fair share of migrants, wether through kinship ties, economic migrants seeking work, or people being settled here through immigration and asylum detention centres.

We watched a programme the other day about a man working in a chicken shop, who travelled 2 hours to get to Clapham, to work from 10 at night until the place closed. I think he was a Muslim and had to deal wtih all these drunken English folk, doing chicken impressions, and all sorts of carrying on. It was quite an entertaining programme, but the guy really missed home, and looked exhausted.

I guess we take for granted the standard of living we have here, I certainly don’t feel rich, and ,pst of the time think I’m pretty hard up, because I can’t afford to do all things I used to do, and have to make choices.In a sense we all have a duty to make sensible decisions with our money and to look after our own family and those around us. We do though need to remember that it’s all God given, and that we are truly blessed.

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  1 Tim. 6:17

 

Friends and Strangers

This week I’ve been thinking alot about how we interact with each other in groups, and how someone is marked out as a stranger or a friend. I like the saying that there is no such thing as a stranger, just a friend you haven’t met yet, but for alot of us, adapting to new people, and new ways of doing things, is hard. It seems to get harder the older you get too!

We worry that the person who is new will change things too much, or not enough. We worry that they will not understand us and our ways or the things we like to do, and we worry that their ways won’t be as good as ours, and we will have to compromise.

For many people who are single, this is the biggest fear for starting a relationship, but for me now, it’s played out more at work, where I am often dealing with people from a range of backgrounds and different approaches. The time I most feel self-conscious is during an interview, and like most people feel exposed and uncomfortable saying “this is me” and “this is how I would support you”. I really admire my friends who can go “Take me or leave me” this is how I am. I spend too much energy trying to second guess what people think of me, and how I come across.

My sister once gave me a really good piece of advice though, which I often think of which is noone can make you feel anything, they just say things and you have a reaction, so noone can tell you that what you are feeling is wrong or incorrect, it’s just how you feel. Often I think we put too much emphasis on everyone feeling great the whole time, when sometimes things just have to be done. Certainly my kids and alot of my friends families have alot more attention on how they are doing then we did growing up.