I've been in England for the past few days. I meant to keep this blog semi-updated on my trip--but I'm leaving for Italy tomorrow . . . so I guess I'll just have to photo- and thought-dump away about England. Oops.
But I'm in England! I'm in Oxford! And it feels so good, as it always does. When I touched down in Heathrow, I almost started crying. (It was a bit embarrassing.) But getting into London (and then getting into Oxford) always swells my heart with joy and nostalgia. Always, always, always.
And I think it always will.
[One of my favorite parts of Oxford is finding hidden spots and alleyways. And I love how familiar places become new every season.]
[That British blue sky--it gets me every time]
[Also those British sunsets. Absolutely stunning.]
Obviously, one of the best things this time was seeing friends that are still here. And I got to introduce Sam and his friend Neil to Oxford and show them around. That was also wonderful. It's always beautiful to experience a place that means so much to you with a person who means so much to you.
[At Christ Church, before Evensong.]
[Afternoon-ing at Vaults and Gardens.]
And seeing friends at Oxford was the best. So good. So, so good. Here are a few people I saw whilst here (not all pictured--but each reunion pictured and not pictured was so good for my soul):
It's been so nice to see familiar faces here. Oxford is timeless, but I change and friends change, but still, Oxford brings us together and reminds us of the times we were good, the times we struggled, and that there is more to life than ivory towers and academic bubbles, but meadows and life and belief and doubt and God.
I will always be grateful for my time at Oxford. I'm also grateful for time beyond Oxford. But while I was walking to a gathering of friends last night and as I passed the Exam Schools, I was just hit with a deep sense of gratitude. Joy with gratitude. And as I pass in and out of opportunities and places and experience the ebb and flow of friendships and relationships, I hope that's the lesson I can take from everything: humble, grateful joy for all that I experience and love.