Sunday, 10 July 2016

The next adventure

It is coming up to three years since we moved to Birmingham. At the time it was a leap into the unknown, with question marks over almost every aspect of what our life here would look like. Now it feels like home.

It is a long time since we have stayed in one place for anywhere near this long: and doing so has been possible because it has continued to feel like a place of challenge and adventure. While in many ways I feel very settled here, there has constantly been enough newness to ensure life continues to feel like a journey rather than a place where we have arrived.

And so it is time for the next step.

It is something of a leap of faith and by many rational standards probably slightly mad. Just before the half-term holidays at the end of May, I handed in my notice at work. I am leaving a job I love for a leap into the unknown of a job I hope I will love even more.

I will be very sad to leave a school where I have clambered up a very steep learning curve, and have had a tremendous amount of fun along the way. I will miss colleagues who do an amazing job and children who have made me smile every single day. I will, at the of term, almost certainly cry.

I have always described teaching as a vocation. And while, at least for a time, I am walking away from it, I stand by that description. But like conversion and faith, vocation is not a once in a lifetime decision that predestines all of our future path. It is an evolving journey and sometimes, it involves turning down the side roads.

And so it is, that three years after beginning to volunteer there, I am going to go and work at St Chad's Sanctuary.

Nobody who reads this blog can be in any doubt as to how special this place has become to me. The people I have met there have been an incredible inspiration and it has been a really important part of my very positive experience of Birmingham.

I am not naive (or I try not to be). I have no doubt that going to work there will shift the dynamics. There will be challenges I will have to look in the eye which as some one who waltzes in for a few hours on a Friday I can cheerfully avoid.

But having thought long and hard, when I finally made the decision, I knew that right now, this was the place I needed to stand and these were the people I need to stand with. I needed to place myself where I can live, as far as possible, as a witness to the welcome I want my country to offer. I needed to try and take one more step towards living as the me I aspire to be.

Now, that seems even more true than it did then.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to present this as some kind of major self-sacrifice. I am very excited to be going to work at one of the most life-giving places I have ever encountered and I know that, while it won't be all plain sailing, it is somewhere that will bring me great joy.

It was not an easy decision. But it is the right one. Bring on the next adventure.

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