Where has a year gone?
August Bank Holiday. Greenbelt Weekend.
I wrote about last year's experience of rain, mud, loss and letting go almost a year ago and since then have rarely visited this page. Most of my blogging now takes place on my business site as I attempt to grow my caking into something that will replace my work and provide a reasonable income.
That, however, is not what I am reflecting on today. I'm not at Greenbelt this year and miss it desperately, in spite of the aforementioned rain and mud last year. I still hadn't accepted I wouldn't be going as I frantically searched for accommodation on Friday evening. It wasn't so much that I left it too late - I had been making enquiries and giving it thought for months. Things simply didn't come together in terms of a volunteering opportunity, affordable accommodation, and cheap rail ticket. Things I didn't consider when I could jump in the car with a tent many years ago, or when my wristband and travel were provided by the charity I worked for. And when a four star hotel room was affordable.
I'm "supposed" to be taking part in the social media worship session just now. It is being tweeted and I love the idea of an inclusive service that we can join in with wherever we are. I sat down at this laptop with a cup of tea and prepared to feel "greenbelty". I even hoped for a little of that "thin space" to open up over my kitchen.
Why then am I here and not there? To be fair I still have the tab open and have refreshed the page a few times to see what is going on. I would love to enter into it but something holds me back. I don't think it is sin or anything massively complicated - I appreciate the idea and value the thought and care that has gone into it.
From the images submitted however I know that other followers/participants are at the festival. Not all. But even seeing the pictures of the contributors lounge and racecourse served only to remind me I am not there and the tweets aren't touching that sense of absent longing.
Better I feel to accept I am here and to distract myself with activity other than facebook - with its many images of people having a wonderful Greenbelt. And twitter - encouraging me to attend a certain venue to hear someone I am sad not to be saying hello to this year.
Ironically I slept in this morning. Missing the various radio programmes being broadcast from the racecourse. I caught one quote however - Martyn Joseph saying that Greenbelt reminds you that you are not the only spiritual refugee in the world.
If you understand that then you will understand why missing Greenbelt is not just about missing a festival, some bands, talks that you can download anyway, or even your friends and the rain.
Greenbelt is indeed a refuge for many who still believe - or want to believe. A place to regroup and sort things for the next leg of the journey. To reconnect and reconcile.
And of course to enjoy a drink with friends in The Jesus Arms. If you are there have one for me. And for sure - "next year in Cheltenham."