There is something that has always delighted me about learning for its own sake. In times past, I have studied towards a specific goal – getting into university, getting a job, becoming ordained. This time around, it has been about learning for pleasure. The pressure of exams and writing essays can sometimes take the shine off this aspect, it is true. However, there is something very pleasing about hearing or reading something and actually understanding what is being discussed. That, for me, is the joy of learning – it is about knowing stuff. What is even better is when I make it relevant to my own life or our life together in our faith community.
One of the things that I admire so much about folk in our congregation is the sheer dedication, determination and tenacity that so many individuals show. Working the whole night shift, then going home to study and look after the family. Losing weight and getting fit enough to run the Great North Run. Having your whole life put under a microscope and going through a really tortuous process in order to adopt children. These are just some of the remarkable stories that are woven into the strength of our faith family. It is my privilege to listen to these stories and I often think to myself “I could never do that.” One lesson that I have learned about myself in doing my studies is that I do have the determination and discipline needed to make sacrifices and maintain focus, when it is something that I really want to do. I spent quite a bit of yesterday grinning and saying out loud ‘I did it!’ I pray that you may be able to live out your passion this week and find ways of celebrating your own achievements in life, whatever they are.