It’s been a difficult week. Mainly because it contained one particularly challenging day. You see, on Thursday we had a whole staff conference, which involved not only head office staff coming together but also everyone who works in CAP centres across the country, nearly 600 people in total. I suppose I came into it with a fair amount of trepidation. I’ve been struggling on the internship recently, feeling frustrated with some aspects of it, and unsettled. I love the work CAP do, but I haven’t always felt a part of it, after all I am only an intern. So whilst excitement was building around the office for the conference, I was apprehensive, afraid that it would be a day when I’d feel like even more of an outsider.
The conference itself was a struggle for me. It was well run, with lots of hard work and effort having gone into it. But having 600 people in an enclosed space, with all the expectation that I felt to be the sociable extrovert that I’m definitely not, made me anxious to a level where most of my energy went into attempting to stay calm. With varying degrees of success. My inner introvert was exhausted by the end of the day. I thought the whole experience would be lost on me.
However, I returned for the evening reception. And as I sat there, I was struck by how God has provided for me since moving to Bradford. I looked around at all the different head office teams and realised there wasn’t a single team that would be a better fit for me than the team I’m in. None of them would have made me feel as welcomed and as valued for who I am, and no where else would I feel as free to be myself at work. I thought back over the day and could see all the wonderful people who had looked out for me and supported me when I wasn’t at my best. I could see that God had woven just the right people into my life in Bradford. The right friends both in and outside of CAP. Friends at work who ground me and bring stability, joy and laughter into my day. And a church family who have accepted and loved me from day one. That night I was able to see that no matter how difficult this past six months have been, this is where I belong right now.
It’s strange that out of what was probably the most challenging day of the internship so far, I come away with a clear sense of how blessed I am. Maybe in the same way the events in Norway caused me to look around and appreciate all I had in Southampton; perhaps I needed this anxiety-filled day to open my eyes to all I have been given here. As I drafted this I was sat on Ilkley Moor, with the sun on my back. Surrounded by so much beauty, that I had to take the time and space to appreciate it. I realised that I have been so busy looking back, that I have missed the beauty and the blessings that are right in front of my eyes.
Today I know two things: life may never be easy, but nevertheless I am blessed.
‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3-4