Setting off the alarms (and some ugly dresses!)

Today has been the perfect combination of productivity, laugh-out-loud moments, and getting-thoroughly-into-the-Christmas-spirit.

I’m not sure anyone but me and those on my Masters course will understand the gravity of my next statement, but I can now confidently say that I have completed my Community Learning and Development portfolio! (That actually caused me to give a little ‘Woop, woop!’) For those people who might not fully grasp the magnitude of this reality, I have now ticked off every competancy on a 3 page list, matched it all with evidence, and organised it into what might now be the thickest and heaviest folder I have ever tried to carry. And for a large part of the day I took over the large table in a coffee shop and it looked a little bit like this:


It was organised chaos. I promise.

I was blessed to at least have highly-sympathetic-company on an epic 6 hour study stint. (Thanks Lisa!) And I was also spurred on by some rather lengthy but lovely phone catch ups! (Thanks everyone else!) AND, I was also encouraged by the crazy-good Motown soundtrack (Thanks blaring-music-coca-cola-bus! I really do believe that great soundtracks can be thanked for some great academia!)

Now, in celebration of finishing some serious work, I began my Christmas shopping… (Yes, yes… I am a girl… That is a reward for me…) And this is where my day moved from serious productivity to serious humour. Because in the first shop we went into, I brought a Christmas present for one of my friends. A Christmas present of the stationary variety. Not a Christmas present that you expect to set off any alarms. I also brought a few others gifts, and on the way out of the store, the buzzers blared in that way that they do when you-feel-guilty-even-though-you-know-you’ve-paid-for-everything. There were a few people bustling about the entrance, and the woman who’d served me just waved me out the shop. She was also confident that I hadn’t brought anything that had a tag on it. And that was that.

Until the second shop we went into. When the alarm went off as I was going into the shop. And as I was going out. But to be honest, I didn’t even think it was me. It didn’t even cross my mind. Because I knew that I hadn’t brought anything with any tags on it. So I just walked out. Like you do.

Until shop three. When the alarm went off as I was going through the doors. Now at this point, even I got the hint that it might actually be me causing all the chaos. And the really kind store assistant offered to check my purchases. Now this guy… Was an absolute legend. Seriously. We began the pretty-hilarious-looking task of waving my various brought-objects in front of the buzzers of the doors to try and narrow down the guilty culprit. And after a few minutes, the innocent looking stationary product began to look decidedly non-innocent! It turns out, that right on the bottom of it, unknown to the eye-of-anyone-else, was a subtle little label, with a hidden magnetic strip on it. And once we had removed that, the problem was solved.

And the store assistant became my hero of the day.

In my weirdly experiential mind, it actually made me think about the way that God deals with us. With me. Because there are some times, that I really think He’s trying to get my attention. He really is. All the alarms are going off in and out of every store that I go into, and I’m obliviously carrying on without any inclination that it’s me. But He’s gentle with me. It’s His kindness that surrounds me. It’s His loving heart that calls me. Because He waits, at the point where He knows He’ll finally be able to grab my attention. In that final store. And He waits, knowing that He will take the patient-time to wave every part of my heart and my life in front of the metaphorical spiritual buzzers to see where the problem lies. And He doesn’t make me do it alone. He’s there, telling me we’ll find the problem. Assuring me that I’m not there alone. He joyfully calls me into the greater reality of living free and walking free and being free from even those tiny magnetic strips that are hidden to everyone but Him.

He calls me into freedom.

He’s my hero.

He’s our Hero. With a capital ‘H’.

And that, is my simple thought of the day.

Now, our shopping trip continued in it’s hilarity as we tried on the ugliest dresses we could find in the shop. Always a joy. Always a great end to an outing!





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