Tuesday, August 01, 2006

All Change!

Yesterday was the last day in my diary. Teachers' diaries, sensibly, tend to go from August to July. So new diary today.

Yesterday I accepted an offer on my house. It was maybe a bit lower than I'd been wanting, but it was a lot more than I paid for the house and I was fairly confident that it was only greed that wanted more. Besides, I always try to do what I'll regret least, and I'd have regretted failing to sell my house hugely whereas I'd only regret getting an extra % or so slightly.

Yesterday, I also passed my driving test, much to the surprise of my instructor. I wasn't really surprised at all. Not because I'm a good driver (I know I'm not an especially good driver and I picked up a huge number of minor faults); I was confident because I've been writing this post in my head for a few days and because I knew I needed to. That doesn't mean I know my driving suddenly improves when I'm being assessed - I don't think it did. It's coz I know that at the moment, I'm doing what God wants me to be doing, so he will sort out the logistics. And being able to drive seemed to be a fairly important part of the logistics.

Here are some quotes from my driving test. They aren't exact verbatim quotes, but you get the general idea:

[Examiner] Do you understand what we're going to do?
[Me] Yes, we're going to get in the car and drive round for a bit. And if you tell me to jump over the gaps in any half-built bridges or anything, I'm going to try to do that

(in heavy rain)
[Me] I know this is probably the sort of question I shouldn't ask on a driving test, but I'd quite like some air circulation, but I've closed my window because I don't want my arm to get wet. Do you mind if I open yours?

Slightly more seriously, I hear that people find change very stressful, and the more things you change at once the more stressful you find it. That was one of the reasons I was actually really grateful that my first proper teaching job was at the same place that I'd been to school. So today, as I prepare to move house, as I get ready for changing subject to one which I haven't formally studied and am about to do a 3-year Oxford degree in in 2 years, as I start being able to drive round on my own after 28 years of walking and cycling, as I prepare for next term being in a city where I know like 3 people (all of whom are very nice and I look forwards to catching up with), it seems like there isn't much that stays the same.

I think one bit of the Bible that gets this really well - the tension between life being so short and changing so much and us being so weak, and at the same time God being so trustworthy and providing solutions to our problems of ephemerality, pain and guilt is Psalm 90.

Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
Before the mountains were created,
before you made the earth and the world,
you are God, without beginning or end.
You turn people back to dust, saying,
"Return to dust!"
For you, a thousand years are as yesterday!
They are like a few hours!
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear
or like grass that springs up in the morning.
In the morning it blooms and flourishes,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
We wither beneath your anger;
we are overwhelmed by your fury.
You spread out our sins before you--
our secret sins--and you see them all.
We live our lives beneath your wrath.
We end our lives with a groan.
Seventy years are given to us!
Some may even reach eighty.
But even the best of these years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we are gone.
Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
Teach us to make the most of our time,
so that we may grow in wisdom.
O LORD, come back to us!
How long will you delay?
Take pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
Replace the evil years with good.
Let us see your miracles again;
let our children see your glory at work.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful!

Psalm 90, NLT

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