Everything Changes: looking back on 2014

Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity states that the faster you are going, the slower passes for you.*

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Kennacraig, where you get the ferry to Islay, just before a shower hit

Given everything that’s happened this year, I’m not sure I can relate to this. A lot has happened and yet the year has flown by.

Much has changed. I’ve started writing this blog post in my parents’ apartment in Belfast, where I’ve not stayed before, wondering where I’m going to church on Sunday (edit: I went to Fitzroy with Justin and Lizzie) and slightly sad that there were no grandparents to visit at Christmas for the first time.

Granny wasn’t well, so it wasn’t a surprise when she was called home in February, but that doesn’t make it any easier.  When all your grandparents are gone, I think that, subconsciously at least, it reinforces the feeling you are a grown-up now. Granny was always there for hugs (much as I disliked this when I was young) and baking, and now she’s not. Jesus himself wept at Lazarus’ death even though he knew he was going to raise him up again- sin and death not meant to be part of God’s design for humanity and this deeply affected him.

A lot of the time we don’t help ourselves. I was deeply concerned about a co-worker who I could see was being psychologically dismantled by another co-worker, and I was galled to see this was happening with impunity. This was a contributing (though, not main) factor as to why I switched jobs in September, which I’m now enjoying. It led me into reading about justice over the year (especially in Job) and while we do not always get justice here on earth, what is clear from scripture God is that God alone is just.

So that you are proved right when you speak, and justified when you judge.

– from Psalm 51

And while I could talk about the pangs of despised love, the insolence of office and other things Hamlet muses about, I feel that it might be right to move on to happier things now.

I didn’t get to the Commonwealth Games because, if I’m honest, I wasn’t really bothered about many of the sports on show (and Northern Ireland wasn’t even in the rugby 7s!). I will, however, always remember the commentator at the opening ceremony talking about the Queen’s raucous reception at Celtic Park. And dancing teacakes.

I did enjoy the World Cup, which I mostly watched at the DVD flat, enjoying Costa Rica’s run to the quarter finals, where they faced a Krul exit. The less said about Spurs, Ross County, and Ards (cruelly relegated) this year the better. I enjoyed running a lot this year (1349km, as I write, over four different countries) and am somewhat surprised I only managed about 5 games of football, something I will look to rectify next year. I took part in the Edinburgh Marathon Relay for the first time in aid of Love Oliver and was happy with the 13.5 km I ran.

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Probably my favourite front page this year, from the day after Uruguay beat England to effectively knock them out of the World Cup. I expect it was a case of “accidentally on purpose”.

Then there were weddings. Lots of weddings, with Shanana and Mark, Justin and Lizzie, Mark and Samantha (where I was pleased to usher) and Fizz and Jonathan all getting hitched, with a few engagements too. It’s so encouraging to see these strong Christian couples get married and to share their joy.

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Mark and Samantha’s wedding. The happy couple is on the far right (of the picture, not politically).

I had a few nice trips, to Islay with the Arden Street crew, Word Alive with church which is always fun, and Belgium on my tod where I learnt the finer arts of beer making. Then there were the weekends away with Cord (when your name is in bold in the list of discussion groups, you know you’ve made it 😉 ), and with Kings, both of which I found encouraging in their own ways.

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Whisky tasting in Bowmore. Not sure if 1030 in the morning was the best time to do it but Luke and Andrew H seem happy…

It’s been a real privilege to lead my small group this year, and hope to be encouraging and encouraged more in 2015 by it.

I’ve read a lot of books, and if you’ll allow me to geek out a bit, I’ve found the books I’ve been reading on Einstein and Quantum Physics by Brian Cox really interesting (if somewhat atheistic in their worldview). Other things worth a peek are Kevin de Young’s book “Just do Something” about making decisions, “Birdsong” by Sebastian Faulks, a novel set in World War One, and “Thirty One Nil” by James Montague if the travails of World Cup qualifying minnows interests you.

There’s a lot more I could say, but I think I’ve said enough. I’m really thankful for you all for being friends with me, and I wish you all a great 2015!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

-Colossians 3:23

(and this includes fun!).

And I didn’t mention the trams.

*The Theory of General Relativity also states that the closer you are to a large mass, the slower time goes, so perhaps all I’ve eaten over Christmas will enhance this effect.

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