|All pictures courtesy of Lynese Morris|
My parents are living in the UK following my Dad's retirement from the ministry in the Methodist Church of South Africa. Despite the fact that he had served long and hard in his calling he knew God had more work for him to do, it turned out to be ministry to the (mostly elderly) people of Downham Market in Norfolk.
Daddy has a heart for the elderly and has really enjoyed his time in the UK thus far, however he does have a tendency to take on more and more commitments until eventually he bis in way over his head.
People who know me well probably think this must be where I get the tendency from as I regularly get in over my head.
Everytime he goes to any meeting he ends up voted onto some committee or another. It used to be a running joke at home whilst I was growing up that Daddy would get back from conference or Synod and have to
Of course this sort of thing was supposed to be less likely in the UK but somehow he still managed to get very involved in all sorts of things that had him rushing between meetings and services with my mother driving him as he has had to stop driving since he developed a problem with his eye sight a few years ago.
On Sunday a fortnight ago he had a minor stroke and ended up in the stroke unit at a hopital in King's Lynn.
He was discharged this week and is now at home and seems to be getting back to being himself again. Fortunately he can still speak and whilst he is struggling with some things like his eyesight and reading and concentration it is unclear whether that is all to do with the stroke as he has always had some issues with Dyslexia and attention deficiet.
It is unclear as to how much and how quickly he will be able to resume his work but I know that he has lots of work still to do. I feel perhaps his stroke might help him understand some of his parishioners better who have had strokes and so suffer the same sorts of frustrations he has had to endure of late.
God works in mysterious ways and who knows how He will lead my father in the future.
Another thought that cmoes to mind is that sometimes God takes away in order to give. While my father has never been one to try to attract undue attention to himself he is put on a pedastle somewhat by his parishoners. This sort of worship of the man rather than his message is a common problem in many churches world wide. People look for heros and will create one when they can't find one.
While my father would deny it vehermently I know that at times some people have almost seen him as more important to them in their spiritual lives than God. That just won't do. I think it might be possible that God has chosen to work through my dad in this way to show people that it is He, not the man carrying his message, that provides the heroism people search for. I think my dad would like that idea. He is very strong in faith and I am comforted by his faith.
It is great to stop by the woods sometimes but a rest is not always an indication that one's journey is over. As for Daddy I know he appreciates the beauty of the woods, "Lovely, dark and deep" But he has "promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."