Today is August 1st.
As I type this, I am wearing winter clothes.
Because summer is cold.
If you live in the U.K, you may well be asking, ‘what’s summer?’
But I can testify that we have had a few days of summer dotted here and there over the last few weeks.
I mean warm, shorts and t-shirt, picnic-weather summer.
Grabbing a window of opportunity one day, my family arranged that we’d meet in Oxford.
We’d get up early so we arrived in plenty of time, stroll around the famous city of dreaming spires, have a picnic lunch in one of the beautiful parks, take a punt on the river….
Basically, it would be an idyllic day.
Unfortunately, the various households didn’t get up early.
So we didn’t arrive in plenty of time.
And it took ages to negotiate parking, so there wasn’t much time to stroll.
And we’d forgotten that it was graduation season, so all the parks were closed.
We went to get a punt but then realisation dawned.
Punting with three children under 5 was probably not a great idea.
So we got ice creams instead.
And they melted in the heat.
Evening came and we determined that at least one part of the plan would go to plan.
We would eat fish and chips by the river.
And we did.
They were a bit cold by the time we ate, the only open fish and chip shop we could find was half an hour from the river, but nevertheless, by the river we sat.
The plan was finally happening.
After a while, I noticed that my niece had suddenly started eating really quickly.
“Slow down,” I said to her, “You’ll choke. There’s no hurry.”
“But I need to go with Oupa (Grandad),” she told me, between mouthfuls.
All I could see was Oupa gathering up the chip wrappers ready to take to the bin.
Certainly nothing worthy of choking.
So I told her that he was only going to the bin.
And with that, she swallowed the last of her chips and stood up.
She slipped her little hand into Oupa’s.
And the two of them set off together.
To the bin.
I watched them go.
They chatted, they laughed, he bent to hear something she said.
And I realised I was wrong.
It was exciting.
Because they were together.
Ok, the bag of rubbish in Oupa’s hand probably wasn’t the most exciting thing ever.
Nor was their destination of a bin.
But who they were with was more important than what they were doing.
‘It’s not where you are in life; it’s who you have by your side that matters.’ (Unknown)
It is really easy to focus on the what/where, whether we’re experiencing a good-what or a bad-what.
How about shifting focus to the who sometimes.
Who’s in this with me?
Family, friends, God, strangers, professionals…..
‘When I am weak, it’s you that makes me strong.’ (Bruno Mars)