So after seven months in London, the last two weeks spent with a large contingent of my family, and a week of that with my mom seriously ill in the hospital, we all flew home together on Wednesday. Heathrow was a ridiculous mess, even for, well, Heathrow. By the time we made it through the security line, the screen said our flight was in final boarding so we ran through the airport to get to our gate. As it turned out the screen as wrong, and so we missed lunch, a chance to shop in Duty Free, and the cigar shop. Bummer.
But the flight was good--lots of movies and good food. I watched Zodiac, Blades of Glory, Shooter and 300. That last one was the best of the lot--what a great story of bravery and honor and sacrifice. A very Christian movie about a bunch of militaristic pagans. Go figure.
We're staying with my in-laws and having a great time. Lots of good food, wine, laughter and a car to drive. We've spent each evening with our daughter and her husband, which has been a joy. The other night we watched The Godfather while eating cheese, bread and fruit. The weather is hot (upper 90s), and Ian has been swimming with his grandfather every day. Julie and I have run errands, seen some friends, and begun the process of re-learning to relax.
Today we went back to our old church. It was so good to be there again. Lots of kids, a variety of worship music and friends that we adore. After church we had lunch with our old small group--Armenian chicken, Rose wine and Pimm's (our contribution). The kids played in the heat, and we just talked--it was as if we'd never been gone. The group has continued to meet, but we've all been such big parts of each other's lives over the years that we just entered seamlessly into the conversation. Lots of hugs, scheming about visits to London, and more love than we had a right to expect. It was lovely.
I'm still processing how I feel about all this. It's only been four days, anyway, so there's no need yet to analyze it too much.
Later tonight I'm headed off to a cigar night given in my honor. This group of guys gets together once a month or so. They smoke cigars (hence the name), sip spirits and talk about things that matter: faith, theology, politics, life. When I think about what a healthy church should look and feel like, most often I think of this group of people who laugh heartily, share openly, argue fiercely and love with abandon. I'll be writing more about this over our time here.
More news later.