Well, the eagle has landed - figuratively speaking.
This is my first post from a new desk in a new house in a new town in a new part of the world. From my new desk in a new house in a new town in a new part of the world I also have a new view of a new street - a view that is absolutely nothing like the view represented in the image supplied.
The boxes are nearly all emptied and flattened. The twins are safely installed in new bedrooms. The gerbils still gnaw loo-roll cores. The cats are back to soiling cat-litter. All in the world is good. We are blessed with a lovely house which much more space even than the house we have just vacated, though even now we feel like we have run out of space to empty the remaining boxes.
Stress levels have been high. The first few days have been characterised by skin-stripping arguments, invective, bile and a sense that we may have lost a sense of 'normal' forever. Gladly, that sense is fast abating as routines re-build, old habits of play resume and the kids remove their self-applied red horns. If us adults have found it all a bit much, we must remember that the Twins Aculae must have had it all the worse. Peace begins to reign over the (now) sunny idyll that is Whitton.
I have placed my new desk in such a way as means I can look out of the window of my study. In the last house, this was of little advantage as the window looked out over a fence and a marauding Russian Vine. From my desk I can see who is at the front door, who is driving or walking along the road, which planes are landing at Heathrow; if I turn and look out of the window behind my chair (this is a 'two-windows-one-patio-door' study) I can see the garden (and the twins playing) and the church in-between the large trees that grace my glebe. The profound differences that mark curacy from incumbency are made manifest to me in the change of view I now have.
Curacy, for me, was a blend of working hard and then retreating the anonymous house to be 'normal', to spend time with the family and to shut out the world of the ministry to a certain extent. Getting that blend right was important, but the closed view from the old study window now reminds me of the express limits that existed in that form of ministry. Incumbency will, by definition, be different. I will be more visible to the world and the world more visible to me. I have to have an eye on family life while having a different kind of eye on parish life. Somewhere in there needs to be some 'me' time (and I opt to do that in the garden or kitchen these days). From my vantage point I see the world (and can close it out if I choose), am surrounded by Scriptures and gadgets, can see the kids and the church in the same glance. I feel like I am at home now.
So far, we have been blessed by the card-sending of the card senders, thew wine-leaving of the wine-leavers, and have received a very wise document from a very wise man that describes and annotates the local facilities (read 'pubs'). A very wise man indeed (not least because he reads this drivel)! In short, we are in, and are settling. Some rooms will get curtains sometime, and others might be painted away from their current pink-all-over state. All in good time.