A rather more personal blog today on the theme of distance and closeness.
Well, a strange 48 hours with news from home that my mum was rushed into hospital over the weekend, and had an operation to remove a blood clot In her arm. The usual Shakespearian storyline to the events, which will all become part of family folklore in the future, and grow in the telling, but the family all kicked into action, and my sisters are being brilliant. Thankfully after an anxious couple of days, the news is better, and the doctor is talking about a return home shortly. Then the work of supporting and caring really begins.
Meanwhile, I am in Cairo, feeling such a distance away, and currently re-arranging everything to get back home this week.
So, initial feelings of shock and helplessness, and being out of touch with those I am closest to in life. Where to be, and what to do type questions, together with a sense of turmoil and some isolation, even whilst being amongst my friends and partners here in Egypt who are being brilliant, prayerful and supportive. My head in Egypt, my heart in Northallerton, UK.
Strange how you can be physically at such a distance, and feel so emotionally close and attached. Maybe the distance makes it even more of a connection….I know I am feeling very much the son and the brother at the moment which outweigh any other roles I have in life. I feel to be in the Northallerton house even whilst walking the Cairo streets. Those who know me well know that I am an emotional being, whether it be outraged by injustice and poverty, in agony about my poorly performing football team (!), elated by live theatre, bursting with pride about my students. Not ashamed to say that it is always close to the surface. It certainly is now, for the most important of things to me In life.
Thankfully, in the middle of all this I have felt God close too. Maybe the sense of helplessness and isolation has made that even more real too. Prayers offered by Cairo based British ex-pats, Egyptian friends and Sudanese refugees have all reminded me that God is also close to me, and my family, and that He is in control. Funny how you sometimes have to go some distance and be in a vulnerable place to be reminded of the reality of the things you believe in.
If you are a praying type, then I would appreciate your prayers for my family, and if you have a spare one, for me too and for the change of arrangements.
Keep close, and hopefully some of this reflection is helpful to you too.