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Different Perspective 27 July 2012

Posted by Dr Moose in Chaplaincy, Life, Ponderings, University.
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And after yesterday’s ruminations about my beloved Role-Playing Convention that is Continuum, you certainly get a different perspective from here – my (temporary) new home, hot-desking in the Student Centre at the University!

While I’m glad this is, at present, an experience that is not to be repeated, it certainly has value. Our Multi-Faith Chaplaincy centre, a converted flat in a Hall of Residence, has been declared off-limits for the week. This is to allow the pest exterminators to deal with the continual cricket infestation. True, they had allegedly dealt with it last year, but the word on the campus has it that they did it at the wrong time of year, and so it wasn’t as effective as it could have been.

I should state for the record that I personally have no problem with cricket (singular) or crickets (plural), but I know some do with both. To me the gentle chirruping in the background of crickets (plural) in our centre is as summer-evoking a sound as that of leather on willow associated with cricket (singular). For a long time I thought it was the sound of the air-conditioning (and, no, we have no air-conditioning, other than of the open the window and hope variety!)

Nevertheless the crickets (plural) have been deemed a nuisance, and Have To Go. (When I think of the tales of the cleaners about the state of the student rooms generally I’m highly surprised that we don’t have a greater number of less-pleasant micro-fauna. All this contributes to the place I intend to start (after three and half paragraphs!) – that in some sense I am not at home. Instead I am “hot-desking” using an (allegedly not very good) computer in the Student Centre. I have to admit that the concept has plenty of theoretical drawbacks to my mind, but is actually working remarkably well. It could simply be because some staff are absent on leave, but combined with the number of part-time staff, it’s remarkably quiet and peaceful, once you learn to screen out other people’s phone conversations! Little different from my year in the offices of Forrester, Ketley and Co. Charted Patent Attorneys, working for Dad some 20 years ago (which is something of a sobering thought!)

From here I see familiar faces on their “home turf” rather than in passing. From here my peregrinations about the campus take on a slightly different colour. From this desk arise the chances for different conversations, and conversation is a vital part of my Chaplaincy work, in building relationships. Maybe it all ties together quite nicely with this “in-between time” – the transition between leaving the parish and starting full-time at the Uni. I know I get itchy feet after a while. (I find it hard to believe we’ve lived in the same house, in the same town, for nearly five years, which is the longest as a family, the longest as a married couple, and the longest as a personal achievement).

As I prepare for the significant job change, which will see me doing what I feel I’ve been called to do pretty much since I was ordained 12 years ago; which will lead me into the adventure of being both an employee (for the first time in many years) and a home-buyer (as we will, in due course, losing the security of the Vicarage). As all this happens the experience of being based at a different desk is another example of seeing from a different perspective. Such changes of perspective are healthy and helpful, literally seeing things a place you might not have thought of or have chosen. If you, dear reader, are too stable, in life, in work, in faith, perhaps it’s time to make a shift and to look from another direction. And if, of course, you lack any stability, maybe you need to settle, and take in the one viewpoint for rather longer….

So, the Chaplain’s Blog, or thought for the today, concludes, without a single reference to that world sporting event starting today not much more than a hundred miles away,  as I prepare to shift my perspective to my familiar lunch haunt, and the first pint of ale  since Sunday (and if, as I hope it’s London Pride, the first since Saturday evening, when it ran out at Continuum, which is where this post started!)

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