I had big plans tonight for pancakes – something fun and full of chatter and laughter like last year – and it didn’t really come to fruition. Most of my girlfriends here were busy or decided not to come. Which is fine (gosh I hate that word). In the end, just one good friend came round and we chatted for an hour over cups of tea, and it was good and thought-provoking and encouraging.

I think I am frustrated tonight though, because somehow, as much as I LOVE this crazy absurd confusing city, still after eighteen months, I do not feel part of a community of friends in the way I have done in other places I’ve lived, even for short times. And it does feel like home here, and I do have some wonderful friends, and am meeting some fascinating interesting people.

But I miss the ease with which it came elsewhere. I think that is it. Here it still feels like an effort. One I am willing to make. I really am. I’m not giving up yet. But I’m tired. I need some new energy for this task.

Life gets a lot busier when you have a full-time job. Maybe that is obvious. But it still surprises me that if I call a friend to plan to chat and pray over a cup of tea, it might be a full two weeks until we both have a free hour at the same time. I don’t like that.

Someone said to me recently, that maybe we aren’t all as busy as we think we are. That we rush around in such a hurry but if we stop and think about our time and what we do with it then maybe actually there’s a lot more we could fit in, or prioritise differently. Of course some of us are just that busy. I don’t think I am. I do a lot, I don’t think I necessarily need any more “things” to do. But I still have lots of spare time for people. And that is the most important thing to me.

Have you heard about the 40 day drink-fast? I’m not sure which organisation initiated it, but the idea is to give up all drinks except water during lent. During that time you keep a tally of how much you have saved from the other drinks you would have purchased, and at the end of lent you donate that money you saved to a charity that provides clean drinking water to people who don’t yet have it.

I love the idea. I don’t think I am going to do it. (And it’s half an hour until Ash Wednesday officially begins so I’m pretty much sure now). I might do a kinda half-fast, and try to cut out some of the non-water drinks I have. But honestly, I am not a big fan of water. And so by the end of lent I would be a bitter grumpy woman and would not exactly be donating that money with a spirit of joy and generosity…

But I do want to mark lent somehow. I honestly don’t have much idea about where lent comes from or what it really is meant to stand for. For me it’s not been about giving up something, but a time each year to refocus again. We shouldn’t need to refocus I guess, but I’m human, and I definitely lose my fous. And I’m tired. I think I’m tired because I am still, after all these years, trying to do everything in my own strength. And feeling so responsibile. For everything. And taking everything personally. And wanting it all so badly.

I still want to put the effort in to the things I believe in, feel responsible, take things personally (becase the alternative is apathy and God forbid that), want it all passionately. I just need to remind myself again who it’s all for. And who gives me these big ideas that I idealistically believe can actually happen.

My mum reminded me yesterday that The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations (Psalm 33 v 11)

That’s what I need to remember now. And try and make some changes that help me to remember that every day. And I don’t really know what or how, partly because it’s only now, with 14 minutes to go, that I have stopped to really think about everything that has been rushing through my head the last couple of week.

That’s all. Sorry it’s a ramble. My family can all tell you that I need to talk things out sometimes. And this seemed like a good place to do it tonight.

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