After I posted about my father-in-law being called home to higher service on Monday, I had a bit of internal turmoil. Do I go to Johannesburg for the funeral or not? If I do, for how long? Will I be able to get a flight? (This was more of an arduous task than it may seem on the face of it, since I was relying on being able to cash in frequent flyer miles. I didn't have the bucks to pay full fare - not that I really had the nearly R900 in taxes that one has to pay when taking a "free" flight, but it was better than the 2 1/2 grand it would have cost.) Will my Superintendent allow me to go? Will the Phase One college allow me to go? And after all that, would it do any good for me to go?
Anyway, after this whole long story, I decided to make the trip, and in the end I'm glad that I went, for my wife needed a shoulder to lean on during this time. Those of you who don't know Belinda well need to understand that whenever a crisis hits, everyone around her can collapse while she goes into "cope mode". When she gets into this groove, she has a mind like a steel trap, where life becomes a series of checklists. It's a wonderful thing to have around when things go horribly wrong, because she simply battens down the hatches and do what needs to be done.
However, in this case her "cope mode" went into overdrive to the point where she was trying to "overfix" things, and was in serious danger of "checklisting" her way to a nervous breakdown. She therefore needed my assurance that she didn't HAVE to fix EVERYTHING, and that there were others around who could carry some of the burden.
The visit was all too short - I flew out on Wednesday afternoon, and was back in Uitenhage this morning. It was however such a joy to see my family again, even though it was for only a few brief hours and not under the best of circumstances.
The question of where "home" is came up in a rather strange way. Members of my congregation here in Uitenhage have asked me whether or not I miss Johannesburg, and have been horrified when I've replied with an emphastic "no". "But don't you miss your family?" they ask, to which I always reply, "My family, I miss terribly. Joburg, I don't miss at all". In fact, to quote Peanut, one of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's characters, "it SUUUUCKS!!!" The traffic ... is hell! The air ... is dirty as hell! The aggression of the drivers ... is hell! The sooner I got out of there - and the sooner I can get my family out of there as well - the better!
So where, then, IS home? I ask this question because when I was in Johannesburg, in my own home (well, the one that is registered in my name, that is), I kept referring to my Joburg home as "here" and my Uitenhage home as "home". It's just incredible how the church community has, in three short months, loved me and accepted me to the degree that I can already consider Uitenhage as "home".
However, the place that I call "home" will most likely change at the end of the year. It's beginning to look more and more likely that I'll be relocating to Pietermaritzburg next year (to take up residence at the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary), and I broached the subject of us moving there as a family next year. Of course, the final decision is in the hands of the Church, and at the moment that decision seems a thousand miles away from being made at this point in time.
The only thing that keeps me sane at the moment is knowing that whatever the final outcome is, God is in control. "Here I am, Lord ... send me". I never understood the reality of this statement until now.
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