Time travelling Vicar

Blog talkers this week is difficult to keep down to one thought, so I am going to waffle on a bit generally. Bit of a nostalgia fest, and a fair amount of what ifs...
If you could go back in time, what one piece advice would you give yourself?
It depends where I'm going to go in time! If I went back to my teens I would say 'go to the gym' - just because I enjoy it so much, and starting earlier would probably have meant I wasn't the large rotund type I am today, although I might have been one of those whose head became smaller than their neck.

Or perhaps in my late teens I would have said 'ride a motorbike'. There's no end to the possibilities of what might have happened if this had been the case when I was a student. I think much of what makes up my life now is probably formed by the fact that I had no transport when I was younger! I would perhaps have travelled a lot more over the weekends at College, whereas I stayed in and around London (no real need for own transport there, so i didn't bother). Though I have to say that this means I spent time with friends, got to be a part of a church, got myself a job which kept my student debt down, stuck with a girlfriend who kept dropping me, then starting again, then dropping etc etc etc - but because there wasn't any way to go elsewhere I just kept on with this - and we've now been married for 14 years with two fantastic kids and I am more in love now that ever. But, that notwithstanding, I would have perhaps seen more of the world, had very different networks of people, looked at things a different way, generally been very different.

Perhaps I would go back to my student days and say 'work harder at Drama' - the secondary part of my degree let down my overall scores and I ended up just missing a first class degree which might have meant I would have carried on with an academic career. I had a very good 2.1 degree which meant I could have pursued a further degree and one of my college lecturers was very keen on me doing a PhD in New York with a professor Chisholm, as my speciality was the nature of faith and religious language, but I also had a great interest in 'issues of Human Nature and the role of Grace'. Again, though, i stayed in London to be near my girlfriend (now wife) and after paying off my student debts I got a job at Imperial College Chaplaincy which led me to where I am now, so how much would I like to change? Well, as I am now looking at a PhD in pastoral ministry having a first would just make things slightly easier...

Perhaps I would go back to before I was married and offer a variety of advice to myself about listening, learning and appreciating - rather than having to learn the hard way!

Perhaps I would go back to just before I took my previous job before this and said 'no, don't go to South Kensington'. But then, would I have taken this job? rather than being desperate to leave my last one I might have been settled somewhere else.

So, as you can tell, indecisiveness rules in this situation. This one kept me awake a couple of nights ago when I first read it.


Dr.John said…
A;ll things considered you really don't want to chage anything.
Nick Payne said…
There are several possible things I would go back to say:

1) I'd go back and tell my Mum to keep her 1 year old son away from boiling teapots.

2) I'd tell myself as a teenager to not fear relating to other people, they can't turn you into someone you are not... and if you try and control how people perceive you (and in my case, succeed), you only end up on the outside. I'd definitely teach myself not to fear girls.

3) I'd tell myself to not worry about going to university... and to have actually gone on the journalism or editing course i was keen on.

4) I'd definitely have told myself to steer well clear of my last long term relationship which hampered my spiritual growth... in fact it is only by grace i got out and only by grace that I survived without having a breakdown.

I know life is a tapestry and pulling one cord unravels the big picture. I also know God turns all things good, ill or evil... to his eternal purpose. That is scriptural.

Gowever what is required in things like this is honesty... and those are paths I'd honestly not rather have tread. curiously they actually follow on one from another... I certainly believe the root cause of it all would be No.1 (not that I blame my mother).



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