Friday, 31 October 2008

So where did half term go?

One of the great blessings of the teacher’s life (apart from a salary that does not depend on the state of international finance) is the holidays. Given that much of the teaching week is basically a non-stop theatrical performance for six hours each day you do need the breaks. Yet on this Friday night as I look back over the half term just ending I wonder where it all went. What actually did I do?

Well, we went up to stay with my mother-in-law in the Midlands for the first part of the week and that means we spent a total of six hours driving. It was a good time and we had the first snow of what promises to be a cold winter. What was especially valuable was that we were able to catch up with relatives. So we met up with my brother-in-law’s and sister-in-law’s families, but we were also able to see our elder son and his wife and young Simeon. I am pleased to be able to report that Simeon is doing well and now looks (and sounds) like the average ten-week-old baby. His parents seem to have come to terms with his CAH well and are handling the need to dose him regularly with saline and steroids with commendable skill and diligence. So there’s an answer to prayer. Thank you all!

What else did I do? I attended a funeral of a dear saint in our church. I did a solid day and a half’s work on writing a whole lot of new notes for the new environmental studies syllabus. I put various programs on my iPhone and digitally processed a number of photographs. I also wrote a rather difficult sermon on the stark subject of ‘Sin’. It is one of those topics that on the surface seems fairly easy but which has all manner of trickiness in depth; original sin, total depravity and (not least) the fact that you don’t want to make everybody feel utterly gloomy. So that took time.

I’ve also been waiting for word from a British publisher on a collaborative non-fiction project which should take up much of my spare time over the next six months. I was due to hear this week but that seems to have slipped away. Linked with this apparently is an interest in a possible fiction project so I have also been accumulating a very large number of notes on a new book. Yes, I have a lot on the epic fantasy trilogy of the ‘Seventh Ship’ but frankly I’m not ready to start that and I’m not sure it’s that attractive for a publisher at this stage. So I have been putting ideas together for a standalone volume that will grab the reader from the first line, involving theology, the supernatural and a fair amount of violence. I’m afraid there is a need for pragmatism!

So with all these things the week has slipped by so fast that now it is in the rear view mirror of life. Did I use it wisely? As I look back at it before much of it disappears entirely from memory I am reminded that the Psalmist wrote: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12). Hmm.

Some time I need to spend time thinking about how I use time.