It was Bank Holiday weekend and our last Sunday off in a while.
We started laughing from almost the moment we met at the seaside.
Our children had fun.
We ate chips and ice cream.
Drank coffee and posed for silly photos.
It was a good day.
Over the last few weeks I've been thinking of how our friendship began.
We have ancient family links.
But that's not uncommon in The Salvation Army.
They came to our church on placement when they were training.
I think they wondered what they were coming to.
I'm not sure what they learnt in practical skills,
Except that chaos in worship can be ok....
Whether it's more polite to swallow or spit your coffee when someone says something really funny.
And maybe that it's ok to 'come as you are' in ministry.
No pretence necessary.
At the very end of their placement our world fell apart.
And it was then that the real change happened.
The supporters became the supported.
The led became the leaders.
The guides became the guided.
They carried on regardless.
And when he realised I really did want him to come and spend some time with Chris, giving pastoral care, he did just that.
And she continued to send me love, and make me laugh through my tears.
I guess my point is that we need each other.
Ranks and human authority are irrelevant in the face of human need.
I preached last Sunday on my fear of September.
The fact that once you start it's full steam ahead until Christmas.
When I asked publicly if anyone felt the same I thought it was only me.
So many kindred spirits.
When we tell it like it is
People are freed up to respond.
It brings release and often visible relief.
"I thought it was just me!"
And when we accept help,
from those who we are supposed to be helping,
it can release them in ministry
in ways we never foresaw when all was 'well'.
But maybe God did.
It takes courage to be honest.
Vulnerability can be costly.
But in my experience it's worth the risk.
Authenticity is priceless.
So back to our friends.
God brought us together for 'such a time'
But the love and laughter will continue for years to come.
Every picture tells a story....