Spent last night with a couple of old friends we hadn't seen for well over ten years. The couple were co-leaders with us of the youth work in Chester-le-Street 1988-1992, but now live in Fife. They took the opportunity of only being 90 minutes away in Stratford-upon-Avon on holiday to drop by.
Through shared hardship and joy we got pretty close back in the days we were together. I wondered how things might have changed over time but we carried on talking as if we had parted only yesterday. We chatted, ate and drank for five hours more.
Listing the people from that group now doing vocational work - teaching, youth work and ordained ministry for instance - we got to wondering what it had been that made it so 'successful.' We came to the conclusion that a higher force than ourselves had been at work putting a very special bunch of people in the hands of those who would be happy to be lived alongside, pestered and cajoled into imparting knowledge and skills even if we weren't very good at so doing. In other words it was a user-generated learning experience (sorry, I'll never use that expression again) and we were God's hands, as it were.
Chester-le-Street was a bit of a blip in our personal geography. It was the only bit of our first 50 years of life we spent outside the Midlands. Why has he put you where he has put you? It may be sometime after that you find out.