It can’t be a whole year since last synod can it? Here I am again on my regular routine visit to the Irish Village in Dubai Airport with my traditional Irish Breakfast LOL. Only I’m not as it was a bit too crowded so I thought I’d try something new. I’m at Segafredo’s caff with a tea and Panini (not with computer game and chocolate frog). The single member of staff is trying to keep up well enough I suppose. I can see why the Irish Village is crowded. It’s the whole ambiance really – sitting here on the edge of a busy thoroughfare with ‘modern’ furniture and so on, well it’s doesn’t have the atmosphere to enable you to chill and reflect (though I am doing that now I guess), but is more of a ‘grab a drink in transit’ kind of place.
Another change this year – I enjoyed my ‘keep the phone switched off but check in for texts’ regime so much over my summer holiday that I decided to leave the phone behind all together this week, redirected to those who will answer for me. I’m already regretting it – it has predictive text and I can make notes and reminders where our UK mobile which I have taken instead, (bought in 2003 and still going strong, sort of), is just not the same.
This year’s New Year’s resolution – to not let emails determine my agenda – has been difficult, but very rewarding this last month and a bit. It helps me to keep pausing – every time I shut the email window – to consider, what do I want to focus on? I’m not such a driven sort of bloke and it’s kept me from drifting the way of demand and pushed me back to what I was ordained for. But sitting here, in a pause as it were, waiting for the demand to get on the aircraft or face embarrassment at missing the plane, I turn my focus to what synod holds for me.
I’ll make up for the lack of today’s Irish breakfast there to be sure, that I will. I’ll make up for lack of predictive text etc with pen and paper – I think I can remember still how to do that. I’ll hear what the bishop has to say in his Presidential Address and bring that back with me to tell the folks at CCJA all about it, and the other stuff – the half day silent (well quiet) retreat at the monastery, the good things happening in other parts of the diocese and so on. But most of all I think I will enjoy the stillness of being alone, out of my normal circumstance of life for a week, meeting friends old and new, doing morning, evening and night prayers with a load of people, and taking time out to receive.