At last the time has arrived for my long-awaited departure. Watch this space for details.
Not perhaps surprising after 40 years service in the NHS, when I retired in the summer of 2015 following a nursing career I was passionate about, I was left feeling a little lost. I took the step of getting in touch with a life style coach, a wonderful lady called Jayne who lives in Tring. She asked me what my dreams were? what drives my life? Out poured my desire to travel, to “make a difference”, my love of India, its people and food and my wish to visit my sponsored child, Sammyaswari, who lives in the Indian state of Odisha. Her words “What’s stopping you?” really challenged me and I suddenly realised the only thing holding me back were the limits I put on myself and my God.
I took my embryonic ideas to my church leadership to sound them out as to whether I should pursue any thoughts of “taking a senior gap year ” to experience living aboard, using my nursing skills, or such like. At this stage I had no real focus on what my future would look like and we spoke in general terms of me spending 6 months or so in India. One thing was made clear to me, I needed to prepare for this if I was to thrive in a vastly different culture and away from family and friends.
So, September 2016 found me at All Nations Christian college for a term on a cross cultural course (En Route) along with 8 other students. What a mixed group we were coming from 5 different countries – if you count Wales! Laughter and camaraderie are great antidotes to over come anxieties and language barriers and we soon knitted together as a tight team. Since completing the course members have gone to work around the world and I shall be fledging in January 2018.
While at college I was struck by the realisation that now James and Faye , my son and daughter were now adults with lives of their own, including family and friendship circles. That, although as a mother I was not redundant, my job although never complete, was easing. Also, I had no elderly parents, aunts or uncles to care for unlike so many of my friends and peers. With good health , bags of energy and enthusiasm and a reasonable level of financial security, it dawned on me that God had blessed me greatly. All this was His gifting, His not mine, to be used for His purpose. Living a student life even for only one term made me realise that it is possibly to be content with less. Less possessions, clothes, space, choices. And to still be grateful and chilled about my situation seems a bonus.
Since the beginning of the year I have found an organisation who work in Muslim communities worldwide, including India. I have completed training, medical, psychological and life style checks and been accepted by them. All through the summer I waited, often impatiently to be called by one of their teams to join them . Time seemed to be slipping by. Then on the same morning that I successfully found a tenant for my cottage, willing to rent for a year, I heard that I would be joining a team in South India. So maybe, if you think your prayers are going unanswered then perhaps God is just making you wait for something larger than you asked for !
I moved out of my cottage in Cublington at the end of October. After a 2 week holiday to recover from the exertions and stress of packing up my home , having regained my equilibrium I am now living with a friend, Sue in her home here in Leighton Buzzard. So with the contents of my home and worldly possessions packed away I basically live out of 3 suitcases and still wonder each day where I have mislaid my diary?