— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —
Most of you, I am sure have noticed that we as a family have not been able to attend church these last two- and a-bit months. My old company called and asked if I could go to Hamburg to do the Lion King Musical, as a parental leave cover. It has both been a blessing and a somewhat of a strain. Coming back to the show, I had renewed energy that I had not felt for years. Being in familiar surroundings, seeing old faces, meeting a host of fresh faces. But, with all this the strain, was not being at home with my wife and my child daily, video calls and WhatsApp messages can only take one so far, before you start questioning why it is that you are doing this. Jasmine, our daughter, grows daily, she is in that phase where dancing, playing, trying to say speak is really at the forefront. Tatjana who is a schoolteacher not only manages her classes, but she also had to take on even more to take care of Jasmine, and yes, we have had help, but not being there daily, really was difficult for me and us.
What I came to realise over the time I have been on the trains back and forth, going to do the show daily, 8 times a week, then being back and forth on weekends, is the sacrifice we as a family were making, so that I could perform. And sometimes I would think the sacrifices I was making outweighed what others were making. This is true in part, but as a family, we were making equal sacrifices to ensure that we as a family would survive these weeks and months.
We all make sacrifices in our daily lives, just to survive a day, a week, a month, or a year. Each sacrifice is personal and difficult. As we are an expat community, we come to Germany mostly for work, or making a new life with a partner. Giving up your home is a lonely and difficult experience, making new friends in a language that is not the easiest to learn, requires dedication and discipline, but we make the sacrifice to make connections, or to live more comfortably. In our daily life we sacrifice health, money, mental health to help someone else, the very idea that life is an individual sport is crazy, we all require someone else to lean on in time of struggle and hardship, and in turn we make the sacrifice to be there for that person.
I ask the Rugby team I coach in Rottweil very regularly, ‘what are you willing to give up in order for us to gain promotion as a team?’ the answer is not simple one, some will say that are willing to bend the rules of the game, make sure that the referee can’t see certain things in a contact situation. Others will say that are willing to sacrifice one time a week, night shift work, time at home, away from their family. Some have managed to stick to their word and some of them cannot as the sacrifice is too great. My point is when there is something living for or going after, you must give a piece of yourself to achieve that goal.
As we come towards the end 2022, I would like you to look at the sacrifices you have made this year, or in the past few years, and remind yourselves, I am doing good, it has been tough, I have wanted to give up many times, but I have persevered. I fought, I have cried, I have stood up, no matter the circumstances. I want you to remember that you are where you are because of the sacrifices of others and remember to be thankful. In times of uncertainty, we must all ensure that no matter what is going on around us, we take time to take stock, look around, use your quiet moment for you, rest, eat well, exercise, laugh and enjoy our lives as much as we can.
The Christmas period is one of my most favourite times of the year, I grew up not having cold Christmas, where I am from it is the height of summer, cold Christmas was difficult experience to overcome. But I have learnt to love them, Christmas markets, the general mood of everyone is happier, but it is also a challenging time for some. Spare a thought for those in need, send prayers to those who are suffering currently, invite a couple more people to your Christmas dinner, share and celebrate new traditions while incorporating your own. I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.
The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.
Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.
We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.