Distant figures

Another postcard from the land of grief

Years ago, I used to travel once each year to Serbia, where I lectured in a Bible School. I soon realised how fascinated people were to find out about my life back home, and decided to make those conversations easier. I filled a little photo album with pictures of my ordinary life.  As well as family, friends and colleagues there were pictures of red post boxes, buses, local shops and even the supermarket where I did my shopping. My Serbian friends loved them, and they led to many an interesting conversation.

If I had moved abroad and kept that album – I wonder how it might have looked a few years down the line? Would the once familiar have looked strange, or quaint, or slightly unbelievable?

As I write this now, I have been twisting the wedding ring on my left hand, and looking at the picture below, taken on August 29th 1987. Those two figures at the front of St Salvator’s Chapel in St Andrews look so very far away. They don’t look real to me. In fact they look rather like the figures of a bride and groom you might stand on the icing of a wedding cake.

They are not.  That is my beloved Fiona and I, flanked by her sister on one side and my brother on the other. It was taken just at the moment that we made our wedding vows to each other 30 years and 364 days ago. Like every couple on their wedding day, our heads were filled with dreams of what the future might hold. Many of them came true, and there were many more besides.  Others did not, and I have left them on the far shore of that other country.

I shall not blog tomorrow, but today I wanted to thank God for the 31 years that were. Throughout them I was fortunate enough to have a companion whose faith, wit and steadfast love made me whole. For that, I shall always be grateful. God bless you and keep you, my #bravestandbest




2 thoughts on “Distant figures

  1. Last Thursday Bob’s Farewell, took place, the funeral and celebration of my husband’s life which is arranged during the five weeks since his diagnosis of terminal cancer. Bob, like you wife, was taken early and was still contributing so much. He was totally accepting of the situation and the many visitors said they left feeling uplifted and peaceful. It was said that he died with grace and dignity. On Sunday several friends heard Sunday Worship. I have looked at the blog and am listening to the programme broadcast on Sunday. It is helping, thank you. I understand that you must have many people contacting you, I trust you might find time to reply.

    • Jacqueline. I feel deeply honoured that you have found time to contact me at such a time as this. As a man who ‘does words’ – I find myself singularly at a loss for them here. Things must be feeling very raw and unreal for you just now – and I am so pleased if the programme could have been of even a little help. I trust that you find strength for all the hills and valleys of this strange place called grief. Richard

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