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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weekend in London: Part 1

I just spent a wonderful long weekend in London.  I was asked by the American Church in London to come and speak at a women's conference they were hosting.  I know the pastor and his wife well and have been to this church on numerous occasions so I was happy to accept the invitation.  I built my talks around the theme of Strangers and Aliens and my basic premise was that we all have places of great alienation in our lives, perhaps geographically for those of us living in foreign countries, but also spiritually and emotionally, for example, my infertility being a place of great emotional alienation for me.  But, and here was my main point, the better we get at identifying these places of loss and "outsideness", the more God can use them in our lives to pull us closer to Him, which as Christians, should be our ultimate goal.  It was fun to put my thoughts together and a real joy to share them with a wonderful group of women.
Speaking of feeling displaced, I had a funny thing happen to me whilst there.  I walked into a coffee shop and ordered a coffee.  Whilst waiting in line to pay, I heard the clerk ask the woman in front of me to pay.  She did this in English.  And I thought to myself, wow, I wonder how she knew to ask her for money in English.  I wonder if she'll know that I speak English.  Then I remembered that we were in ENGLAND.  Duh.  Of course they were speaking English!  I am just so used to be surrounded by Swedish so even hearing the English was different for me.  I must admit, I loved being in an English speaking country, even though, in London, there are definitely words and accents that I sometimes do not recognize!
The entire weekend was a cozy time together and I enjoyed sharing my heart with a lovely group of women who gave their time to this gathering over the weekend.
My time with John and Julie, the pastor and his wife, was also very rich.  They have become very good friends over the years that we have been pastors of International churches and it was a pleasure to spend time in their home, get to know their delightful 12 year old son better, eat amazing and wonderful food, share great conversations and good laughs together.  It was great fun to be back in London again even though this time around I didn't really have time to do a lot of Londony things.  I did ride both the Tube and the red double decker busses.  As I was leaving the city to venture out to the English countryside, I was in a taxi heading to the Waterloo train station, and we drove across the Thames and to my left was St. Paul and to my right was Big Ben, the London Eye, and Parliament.  Quintessentially British and it made my heart sing a little!