I’m back to the blog! I’ve been kind of ignoring it these past few days, and ignoring my Hitch hikers guide – which I’ll be studying again later this evening.
This post is you guessed it, about what I learned this summer. All sorts of things, emotional, practical, useless and most importantly, spiritual.
I’ll start off with a brief over-view of my summer;
I started off by moving back to Tongue, the village my parent’s live in. This is always a MAJOR culture shock. I go from Edinburgh, where I see more people driving past my window than there are people in Tongue and Melness combined, to a small village with 250 – ish – people. The nearest supermarket is an hours drive away, buses to the outside world run three days a week, and the library is a bus that comes round every few weeks. Compared to last year however, the internet connection is much better! On a tight cap, but a much faster connection.
I was up in Tongue for just two days, before cycling across to Melness, with my Dad, we went into a hotel there called “The Craggan Hotel” it’s pretty small, it’s got 4 rooms, and is really much more of a restaurant with rooms, than a hotel. However, the food there is excellent, and the service is great. I applied for a job, I spoke directly to the manager, impressed her with my résumé – that is to say a couple of months working as an events waiter – which, in my opinion, is a much easier job than restaurant waiting. However, she accepted me for a trail shift, with a warning that I’d be doing a bit of everything – bar work, dishes, kitchen assistant and waiting, rather than pure waiting.
I had my trial shift, a day after another girl, that I’d met briefly at some vague point before hand, yet still had on facebook, and got a quick heads up on what to expect. I followed the Manager about a bit, put away dishes (I’d not “graduated” to a full dish washer then) took drinks orders and polished cutlery. I met the chef (there was just one at that point) who is a nice enough guy, with a bit of a short temper.
Before I knew it I was working 30 hours a week, minimum. I’d get maybe a days warning tops on shift times, and be working from 12 or 6ish until 10:30 or later. I found it hard to remember to do everything – set up the customer’s sitting in the bar with cutlery, take bread and butter out, check back on customers and write up the bills – before we had a proper till.
It was maybe a month, month and a half before the girl who started with me quit, she got a different job, with less hours but slightly better pay found an excuse to leave, and left. About the same time, the third waitress (who’d started Christmas before) came down ill, over the next 2 weeks or so I worked 120 hours give or take a few, it was tough, but I got through it, and managed to build up a proper routine for dealing with customers, became confidant in my waiting and started carrying a plate in each hand again. Whilst I was an event waiter I carried 3 full plates when needed, and cleared tables of 10 in one go. The Craggan’s plates are heavier, and near impossible to balance on your wrist, when full, so I carry 2 and on return I can generally clear 4 or 5 plates, depending on the plates in question and what’s on them.
I had a week off in June, for LEAD-UP! Which is a part of Scripture Union’s CoMission project – see details here “http://www.suscotland.org.uk/volunteers-and-training/commission-2011”
It was awesome. I learned alot, there was a lot of banter, made many new friends, and most importantly, got a tonne of blog posts, views and a few subscribers! I’d have to say the thing that was driven home most, from Lead-Up would have to be “Think, Pray, Act.” Not that they taught us that, it’s more what I learned combined into various things, and perhaps the thing I need to work on most.
Then it was back to work. Lots of work. A month later… after some Archery training, which I didn’t get to complete, yet, still got the perfect center on (as well as a perfect 30 in another round)
KX3! You might remember a few blog posts to do with camp prep and getting read for that.
Kx3 was a great camp this year, it was my first year at that camp, and it was my first time as a group leader. I was paired up with a guy 5-6 years older than me, I was able to sit back and study the way he led the group, interacted with individuals, campers and team members. I really picked up a lot from watching him, and feel that my next aim in my Christian walk, is to get the point that I feel he is at, as a Christian leader anyway. This stems from why I became a leader – which I’ll save for another blog post, as this one is probs going to be in 10’s of hundreds of words, rather than just hundreds.
After Kx3 was LM5b, straight away. Straight from one, into day 2 of the next.
I met my group that evening – and it was MY group, I was flying solo so to speak, no senior leader, or trainee leader to assist me. I was slightly terrified, fortunately the two younger kids (4 +5 years younger than the other 4 boys) assigned to my group, where on their own activity schedule and weren’t involved in our group times (they where leaders kids, rather then campers). I think the group was successful, in that they all got on well with each other, took part in all the activities, where fairly well behaved, had a tidy dorm, and really, where just about the perfect group. They had some interesting questions on revelations, a book of the Bible I’ve yet to get to grips with properly. They seriously tested my Biblical knowledge, and surprised me with JUST how much of Revelations they’d read, memorised and fired out at me just when I was looking for an easy close to group time… I did deflect a few questions I was unable to answer (I needed more time to think then was available) with the “Write it down, no seriously, right now, and ask your minister when you get home. He’ll love to answer all of your questions I’m sure” Whoever their minister is, I feel truely sorry for him. Some of the questions where so tricky, I’ve subsequently forgotten them, and blocked them out.
Between camps and Lead up, and my “far more regular then before” bible study, I’ve grown so much more dependant on God, before I was constantly relying on my own strength, I used to think (and still do to some extent) that I can do anything. This is partially true, as anything is possible with God, but when it comes to just my own strength? I know for a fact, I wouldn’t have lasted through the whole of my first camp, never mind the one after! Leading at camp really brought me back to ground, it’s reminded me just how easy it is to screw things up. It’s really easy. Just the revelation of how much I actually depend on God, and how much I was relying on Him before (with out thinking about it) is really just ridiculous. My attitude to life for many years has been “I can do what I want, no matter how dangerous, difficult or just down right stupid because God has my back.” Now I’m growing into thoughts of “OK, so God’s got my back, do I have His?(so to speak) Are my actions reflecting God’s grace?” Or am I just a space?
Back to being in Tongue, and working, I’ve been struck by the fact that I’m the minister’s son. Up here, when people see me, they see a representative of God, I’m an ambassador of Christ – anybody who calls them self a Christian is just that. This was highlighted to me one evening when I was talking to some customers over the bar, I caught a “daddy-long-legs” in mid air, and killed it. They all said “You can’t do that!” I was confused, and I asked why not? They said “You’re the minister’s son, you have to respect all life!?” Now, they where partially kidding, and I did defend my actions – I do care for all life on Earth, I’m just making sure it’s in the right place. Also, insects bug me.
That highlighted to me just how they see me. I’m not just another guy, something I’d always aspired to be is “another one of the lads” but now, I don’t want to be that. I know that as a Christian, I have to stand out – mark myself out as different and then live differently.
So that’s my challenge for this post. If you call yourself a Christian, do you stand out? If not, why not?
If you’re not a Christian, do you know any that do? If so, how and why do they stand out? Ask yourself and ask them why they go to that effort to be different.
So that’s my challenge to me, and to you. If you see me, pull me up when I’m slacking, or just ask me what’s it all about. I’m always up for a chat, a bit of banter.
Thanks for reading all 1606 words.