I'm back in Bristol after being away for nearly a whole week. Before I went away I'd been really feeling the need to get away from the city, or perhaps just this city. It's funny how spending just a little time away from my life here makes me appreciate it all the more. I am genuinely delighted to be back in this city. It helps that the sun has been shining radiantly all day long, but it's more that I've missed all of my lovely lovely friends here. While this week and weekend have been spent with friends, there's something wonderful about the closeness of the friends that are around you all the time, and that is what I've missed.
I've been continually surprised over the last couple of years, but the last twelve months in particular, at just how much at home I feel here in Bristol. So much so that my desire to spread my wings to other parts of the world has become a smouldering wick rather than a blazing fire whose heat I used to be constantly aware of. However, I think I am starting to feel a little too comfortable. A little too settled. A little bit more aware of all the things going on in the world that need people to be committed to and make a difference in, that is outside of my comfy little world here.
One of the number of things that has provoked this feeling in me is the film 'Blood Diamonds' which is about the corrupt system of mining diamonds in a war-ravaged Sierra Leone and lives being wrecked and torn apart as a result of the political corruption. I know that these films are provoking for the majority of people, but there was one part of the film which struck me. Not the most obviously moving part of it, but it did make me think. Danny Archer (played by DiCaprio) was having a conversation with an American journalist who was trying to uncover to the world exactly what was going on in Sierra Leone, and he made some mention of the journalist going back to America. To which she responded that somehow, going back to a life of sipping latte's and discussing the latest soap operas (or something of that line of meaninglessness) just didn't really appeal to her anymore. This reminded me of how I felt when I came back from Uganda. The prospect of coming back to Westernised culture where money is spent hideously frivilously and much of our time is taken up with doing things that don't actually matter, to the point where we convince ourselves that they really are important, and a whole load of other stuff that is characteristic of the West, really didn't appeal to me. I didn't want to fall back into the same attitudes I'd had before. The same ways of being comfortable; the same ways of seeing my time as my own, as a precious commodity rather than something to be shared as much as possible with others. I wanted the changes that had happened as a result of seeing life being lived differently to have a long lasting impact. But I'm not sure they have.
I genuinely enjoy going for a coffee with myself and reading a good book. I know that this really isn't something that is wrong, but actually, it makes me ask the question of how much of my time is taken up just doing things that please me but don't actually achieve anything or make a difference to anyone else. It's at times like this that I seriously consider what I am going to spend the rest of my life doing; wonder how I'm going to make a difference in some way, whether I'm making myself available enough to God for Him to use me in a way that brings Him glory; whether I'm going to get to the age of 70 and think, 'I've wasted my life trying to please others more than God'. I hope, I pray that won't be the case, that I won't miss what God has for me because I'm too busy running with my head turning in every other direction, save that of the one He's showing me...