An occasional Lent series:3

We lived in Colwyn Bay from 1999-2004. It was my first appointment as a Methodist Minister. Our children were born there and each year we try to go back; the place has so many good memories.

I had never done a school assembly, much less been in a school until I went there. Next to one of the churches was a Methodist Public School and part of what I was asked to do was to lead some assemblies in there. At first I was overawed by being up on stage in front of 400 11-18 year olds & stood at the lectern and gave my peroration in much the same way as everyone else.

One day, however, I turned up with one of those intense head colds where the world seems ‘furry’ and distant. I literally had no nerves, suddenly realised that there was no need to pretend- these 11-18 year olds didn’t really want to listen to another vicar, especially at 8.30am- left the lectern and started to talk and eyeball people. It was a formative experience & has governed how I do school assemblies now. In fact the more hostile/disinterested the audience, the more I like it.

As I was leaving the school, the head boy came up to me and gave me his slightly battered copy of the above CD. I think he said something like ‘You talk about music: I thought you would like this.’ I already had a copy, a much better preserved one, which I have since given away, but I have kept this copy.

Every time I look of it I think of gifts given that were not looked for, of unlikely connections & of a ‘thank you’ that I never expected. Then I look at my vast and unwieldy collection of music and realise that most of the ones I treasure the most were unexpected gifts. I have often been blessed when I did not expect it.