Sowing the seeds of love…

I am now a fully resident York person, working and living in one place. It’s great! First time I’ve done this for years. I have been a serial commuter, and now giving it up for a 15 minute bike ride. Work is going ok, hard to get my head into lots of new names, people, information and try and absorb it all, but its going to be good, people I am working for seem really nice and the job will suit me as its all about health and social care working better together. York is completely skint like most councils, and because its quite “posh” doesn’t qualify for alot of additional funding, but still has its problems, like lots more older people needing help at the end of their life. 

The last couple of years have been really difficult with the commute and to be honest a really difficult relationship with my boss who I found very challenging to work with. The kids and Steve have suffered really as I’ve been tired and grumpy and not keen to talk when I get home. I now feel like I’ve got more mental energy (may not last long) and more relaxed. 

Steve suddenly seems like a really nice bloke again, which basically means I am being nice to him, instead of dead grumpy, tired, bossy and irritable. What a lucky man he is! 

Going back to the gardening analogies, I reckon some plants and seeds just don’t grow in certain conditions. If I am in a job I don’t like I am not going to thrive in any area of my life, that’s the way I am made. For other people work is not such a big deal. Trying to change the person you are is not really possible, just like a plant that likes shade won’t grow in the sun. Most men couldn’t stay at home with the kids, and cope with it all as Steve does, but for him its fine, and he actually quite likes it (most of the time). What I find difficult is people always asking me why he hasn’t got a job! Not sure they would say the same to a woman?

When it comes to sharing faith and experiences, how I would put it across is just not going to sink in for some people, whether they like what I am saying or not, because of other things going on for them at the time or just not being able to hear. Sometimes as a Christian that’s frustrating. The bible though is full of encouragement, as it has ever been thus even for Jesus and the disciples when he was alive…

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred,sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”


Bye-bye Bradford

Bradford (Photo credit: Tim Green aka atoach)

So I have 3 days left in Bradford, I started work there when my eldest was 9 months old, and am leaving almost 4 years later, with a 4 and 2 year old at home, to work closer to home. I am so pleased to be able to put the commute behind me, and looking forward to doing more at home, and being able to see friends and family more easily. Apparantly for every 10 miles you commute, you lose 10 minutes of social capital… so you don’t bump into people you know, you don’t bump into neighbours and you don’t support the place you call home.

I have had some wonderful experiences in Bradford though. Hearing the call to prayer, in Manningham, whilst in the middle of a boring meeting about day services, is really quite uplifting. Driving over Ilkley Moor to visit a provider who gives me lovely china tea-cups and biscuits when I visit. Being invited to an Eastern European christmas networking event, speaking to a room full of people who don’t speak English about dementia, and having no idea what the translator was saying… Feeling like I’d made a difference through bringing new funding into the district from grant applications, to spend in the Food Banks, working with colleagues who pray three times a day.. the list goes on.

I know God loves everyone, but I think Bradfordians are close to his heart. They are warm and friendly and down to earth, and sometimes crazy, but also up for doing things altogether differently. New opportunities are abundant despite the scary levels of poverty and ill-health. Even though the city centre features a big hole, and lots of empty shops, its also got a fantastic new City Park, full of kids playing in the fountains in half-term (much featured in recent programme The Syndicate) and a national media museum, fantastic culture, and of course lunch-time curries are not going to be the same anywhere else! When Bradford City got to Wembley, even Chris Evans gave them a mention on the Breakfast Show.

It’s also been traumatic because I started in Bradford having been made redundant from my last job, and came back after maternity leave the second time, after having to apply for my job, and find myself dealing with a whole load of new responsibilities I hadn’t had before the current government came to power! At times I would dearly have liked to quit or win the lottery, but I didn’t and instead I started writing this blog, to help me process what was happening at home and at work.

So here we are on a new website, posterous has closed down, new job and hopefully good times ahead. My eldest starts school in September. The following prayer is from Paul’s letter to Ephesians… whilst locked up in prison he is describing the wonderful expanse of God’s love….

Ephesians 3, v14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.