That's just about it, then... been to church, lunch with the minister and her family, took a quick look at the art galleries and back to my appartment to sort out my packing ready for off tomorrow. Flight not until the evening, so some time to have a last look around, once I''ve dropped off luggage somewhere or other.
Today's sermon was on epiphany - the visit of the wise men to the young Jesus, and the return home by another route after an experience that defied expectations. I felt it spoke to me in at least some measure, not so much about my visit to NZ as about the whole journey that has brought me to this point and the return to my physical homeland, changed by what I have experienced.
Three and a half years to the date, and pretty darned close to the time (NZ time anyway) from hearing the words "I'm sorry, it's cancer" that unchosen, unwanted, unplanned journey has brought me to the far side of the planet where sharing my story has somehow helped or blessed some others, where I have recovered/rediscovered some of my confidence, been blessed by awesome Kiwi hospitality, worshipped with two very different Baptist churches, and retrun home invogorated and refreshed.
I still maintain that God did not send me cancer, let alone try to teach me anything by it, but given that it happened, God has given me amazing opportunities I would not otherwise have had. In fact, so much that is good, beautiful and wonderful has emerged that I am left with a bit of a quandry! Whilst I'd rather not have had cancer, I cannot regret one moment of my life since hearing those fateful words... Because God has shared that journey (and still does) and perhaps because I've been willing/determined to play my part, I have been blessed beyond my wildest imaginings... I cannot regret the friendships made, the opportunities that emerged. That irreversible paradigm shift BC:AD (Before Cancer to After Diagnosis), probably my one contribution to cancer-theological lore/language, has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined, and most of them a pretty amazing. I can't go back and, if I am honest and if it meant giving up what I've gained, even if I could I wouldn't.
I've had a wonderful time in New Zealand, have been blessed and energised, refreshed and challenged: all of these are good things. Now I return to the UK tired and happy - it's been great. Kia Ora
Radio silence now until at least Tuesday afternoon UK time!